Canada’s tobacco warnings move up to 4th in world

Cigarette Burning

Canada’s globe ranking for cigarette pack warning labels went up to 4th in 2012 from 15th in 2010 when new Canadian health warnings covering 75% of cigarette pack were introduced, an worldwide review reveals.

The Canadian Cancer Society posts a review every two years rating cigarette warning labels. The most recent review was launched on November 14 at the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control conference in Seoul, South Korea.

In 2011, Health Canada declared that it would renew warning labels on tobacco products packs. Canada’s health-related warnings now cover 75% of the front and 75% of the back of cigarette packs.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, commended Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq for the new health-related labels, but also obliged the federal government to comply with Australia’s lead in introduction of plain packaging.

Australia, which obtained the top ranking, has the biggest warning labels, covering 82.5% of the pack front and back of pack (75% front, 90% back). Australia as well forbids cigarette giants colours, logo and design features on the branded part of the package.

“Plain packaging would reduce the tobacco companies’ use of the package as a promotional element, would boost the effectiveness of package health labels, would lower package deception, and would minimize tobacco consumption,” the review’s authors stated.

Tobacco companies challenged the Australian rules on the grounds that they infringe intellectual property rights and devalued their logos. The Australia’s highest court upheld the law in August.

After the Australian ruling, Health Canada said that it is watching what result the plain packaging law has in Australia, and did not exclude promoting similar laws.

The other top-ranked countries for health label sizes in the review were:

– Uruguay fixed at second place with Sri Lanka at 80% of front, 80% of back,

– Brunei and Canada at fourth place at 75% .

Another report posted on November 14 by the Cochrane Collaboration came to the conclusion that providing smokers text or video information for at least six months can help people to give up smoking.

The text messages presented motivation, support and tips for smoking cessation.

Smartphone applications weren’t included in the report.


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