December 14, 2004
Parliament and Health Canada work together to protect lives.
(Ottawa) -- Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada congratulated Health Canada, the Senate and the House of Commons for working together to reduce fires caused by cigarettes.
The Tobacco Act requires all regulations drafted under its powers be tabled in Parliament, and they are customarily reviewed by the Standing Committee on Health. On Tuesday, December 14, 2004, that committee reviewed the most recent of those proposals, Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations.
These new regulations would require that all cigarettes sold in Canada after October 1, 2005 meet a performance standard. Under this standard, no more than 25% of cigarettes tested could burn to their complete length when tested on 10 layers of filter paper. (The test ASTM E2187-04 and regulations are available here.) The regulations closely follow those implemented in New York earlier this year.
The next step will be for the regulations to be approved by cabinet and published in the Canada Gazette. When this happens, Canada will be the first country to have nation-wide fire-safety standards for cigarettes.
Although only a small number of tobacco related deaths result from fires, cigarette are the leading cause of fire-related deaths. Helene Goulet testified on behalf of Health Canada before the Commons committee: she predicted that "the proposed regulations will help save 18 to 36 lives per year, will help prevent between 77 and 155 injuries and will reduce damages to property by $9.5 to $19 million."
Neil Collishaw, research director for Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada also testified before the committee. He praised both the government an parliament for the efforts in supporting an earlier private members bill, forwarded by Mr. John McKay, which helped accelerate the government's regulation.
"Tobacco control is a pan-partisan issue," said Neil Collishaw. "When members of parliament set aside their differences and work together for the common good, they show Canadians that parliament is supreme - and that it works supremely well."
See: Health Canada Tobacco Control Program background: