Press Release

February 27, 2012

New package warnings demonstrate value of tobacco regulation. 

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) today welcomed the arrival of new package warnings on cigarettes.  "These new warnings will help smokers quit and will protect Canadians from starting or restarting smoking," predicted Cynthia Callard, PSC's executive director.

"With their larger size and more powerful imagery, these new warnings are an important step towards appropriate packaging of cigarettes," said Callard. "The evidence is there for anyone to see."

A side by side comparison with the previous warnings (in place since December 2000) shows a dramatic difference between new and old warnings, observed Callard. (Some of the warnings are shown below, others can be viewed here)

"Health Canada has indicated that the warnings need to be more frequently refreshed, and we look forward to continuous improvements in this important public health measure," said Callard. 

Regulations requiring the warnings were 'gazetted' in September 2011, but manufacturers were given a 6 month grace period before the warnings were mandatory.  As of March 21, 2012, all cigarettes manufactured or imported must have the new warnings.  Retailers have until June 18 to sell their old inventory.

Three important improvements in health warnings have already been identified. The first is the standardization of package shape and size to ensure that warnings on all packaging are equally effective. The second is the removal of promotional  material, such as colours and branding, from tobacco packaging. the packaging. The third is requirements for equally effective warnings on other tobacco products, such as oral tobacco, cigars, shisha, pipe tobaccos, etc. 

"Canada was the first country to require picture-based warning messages," said Callard. "With these new reforms Canada is again setting a standard for public health regulation."


For information:  Cynthia Callard  613 600 5794






New Exterior Warnings and Interior Message