Heart and Stroke Foundation applauds federal government for taking the next step on renewal of tobacco package health warnings

OTTAWA, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada today applauded the federal government for taking the next step towards the implementation of a renewed tobacco package warning system.

Today Health Canada issued draft regulations for the warning system, including 16 proposed tobacco package warning pictorials. The pictorials can be viewed at:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/consult/_2011/label-etiquet/messages-eng.php

The draft regulations can be viewed at:

http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2011/2011-02-19/html/index-eng.html

The new warnings will contain many important features that are critical to an effective warning system, including larger warnings, which will increase in size from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of the principal display areas of the tobacco package.

"With warning labels, size matters," says Bobbe Wood, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "Giving Canadians the straight-up goods on the dangers of tobacco use in a more prominent, impactful and visible way is a significant step in the ongoing battle to reduce tobacco consumption."

Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. "Research indicates that larger and more visible warnings are more likely to effectively support efforts against smoking," says Wood. "This will help encourage Canadians to quit smoking."

The draft warnings also include some very strong, emotionally impactful messages, pictures, testimonials by real victims of the tobacco industry product and a toll-free national smoking cessation telephone number.

"New package warnings, in addition to the government's adoption of legislation in 2009 to ban flavoured tobacco products and its associated marketing, will help support efforts to reduce tobacco consumption in Canada," says Wood.

The Foundation looks forward to providing input on the draft package warning regulations that have been tabled by the federal government today and it looks forward to their final implementation at the end of 2011.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. (heartandstroke.ca)

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Media inquiries:
Jane Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
613-406-3282
jfraser@hsf.ca

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