Monday, November 19, 2012

Canada’s cigarette warning labels amongst best in the world

A recent report by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) ranking cigarette warning packages around the globe has Canada ranked fourth out of 198 countries, but some say more needs to be done. Senior policy analyst with CCS, Rob Cunningham, said the federal government should move quickly to implement the larger warnings introduced in March—which take up 75 per cent of the front and back of cigarette packages—on other tobacco products, like roll-your-own tobacco, water-pipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco.

Canada was ranked 4th of 198 countries for their cigarette package warning labels by the Canadian Cancer Society. Image: Tara Campbell/Metro

“These product categories, which are popular in Saskatchewan and in other provinces, especially amongst youth, should have these new warnings on them as well,” said Cunningham. He also explained the larger warning labels could be effective in helping those outside major cities kick the habit as they contain the number for a toll-free quit-line. “If you live in a remote community or a rural community, you’ve got access to free help to quit,” said Cunningham. “These images say 1,000 words and regardless of where you live, these warnings are having an impact and they’re also reaching people around smokers, their kids, their friends and their co-workers.”

Alim Gillani, senior manager of health promotion with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan echoed Cunningham saying Canada should introduce regulations similar to those in Australia, which require 75 per cent of the package fronts covered and 90 per cent of package backs, with the removal of all tobacco company branding. “What Australia has done with plain cigarette packaging has been proven by research to make a really big difference,” said Gillani. “Then there is no marketing towards branding, towards colours and stuff like that, every cigarette is the same and it really goes to deter new and old smokers.”

Top ranked countries:
1. Australia: 75 per cent of front, 90 per cent of back.
2. Uruguay: 80 per cent of front, 80 per cent of back.
3. Sri Lanka: 80 per cent of front, 80 per cent of back.
4. Canada: 75 per cent of front, 75 per cent of back.
5. Brunei: 75 per cent of front, 75 per cent of back.

Source: Metro News Canada

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