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Press Release

July 11, 2017

Newly launched brands are a reminder that Canada does not yet require health warnings on all tobacco products.

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada today requested the Minister of  Health to require government-approved health warnings on tobacco products.

"Fifteen years have passed since Canada took a leadership role in negotiating treaty obligations for warnings on tobacco products -- yet Canada still does not meet the minimum requirements of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control," said PSC's executive directory, Cynthia Callard.

Regulations governing tobacco warnings on products other than cigarettes and little cigars were developed more than 18 years ago, before the FCTC requirements came into force. These regulations exempt some categories of tobacco products, including cigars and heat-not-burn products.

Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco recently launched heat-not-burn products in Canada. They are under no legal obligation to put warnings on the packages of these new brands, but have done so voluntarily. PMI has selected the text and size of one of the warnings developed for smokeless tobacco products. BAT has chosen its own warning, and has allocated only 20% of the package surface for warning text. The international minimum is 30%. (Pictures of packages are shown below)

"These new products expose several weaknesses in Canada's regulatory approach to tobacco," Ms. Callard pointed out. "Unlike the United States, any new style of tobacco product can be marketed without prior approval. Unlike the European Union, they can be marketed without government-approved warnings."

PSC has asked the Minister of Health, the Hon. Jane Philpott, to establish a time frame for putting regulations in place, and to take administrative actions to ensure that the warnings meet international standards.

"Passing regulations can take months, but should not take decades. Picking up the phone and insisting that warnings conform with Health Canada's standards need only take a few minutes."

Contacts:

Cynthia Callard
613
600 5794

 

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