CANADA – The Canadian Government is considering introducing more stringent regulations for tobacco product packaging and labelling in Canada.

The move builds on the country’s Tobacco Product Information Regulations from 2000, which require graphic photo warnings to be included on tobacco product packaging.

As part of the updated guidance, all tobacco product packaging will need to feature health warnings and toxicity messages and dedicate at least 75% of its main panel to health warnings for all tobacco products.

The new proposed regulations will also require space on tobacco packages for displaying health information messages so that they are more noticeable.

Product packaging should also be designed in such a way that health-related messages such as images and text can be updated with the latest science and research.

In addition, health warnings must feature on individual cigarettes, except cigars that have filters, and cigarette tubes.

In relation to the proposed regulations, Canada Mental Health and Addictions Minister and Health Associate Minister Carolyn Bennett has launched a 75-day public consultation period from 11 June to seek public feedback.

Reducing the devastating harms of tobacco use remains a top priority for health and health care in Canada,” said Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.

To better inform Canadians about the effects of smoking on their health and on the health of those around them, our government is proposing to strengthen regulations that would introduce new warnings of health hazards and negative health effects on tobacco products.”

He added that “if implemented, they would prevent the preventable as they better communicate the health risks of smoking to millions of people across the country each day, helping more Canadians live healthier, happier and tobacco-free lives.”

The proposed regulation has received a positive response from tobacco control organisations in Canada, including Action on Smoking & Health (ASH Canada).

Labelling the tipping paper of cigarettes and other tobacco products would make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings altogether. If implemented, Canada would be the first country in the world to introduce such a requirement.

Tobacco is currently the leading cause of illness and premature death in the country, killing around 48,000 Canadians every year.

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