Consumer Disclosure - January 16 - 22 is National Non-Smoking Week (NNSW) 2011

OTTAWA, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - When the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control (CCTC) launched its series of six posters in support of this year's theme, we were asked whether Canadian cigarettes contained pig's blood or polonium 210. We could not answer that question.

We know that these ingredients have been found in cigarettes in other countries but short of extensive laboratory testing, we simply do not know the answer for Canada. The tobacco industry is not required to disclose any of the ingredients and additives used in the manufacturing of their products to their consumers or the public.

A cigarette (filter, paper and tobacco) is reported to contain over 500 ingredients. Once lit, it generates more than 4,000 chemicals, 60 of which are known carcinogens. In Canada, tobacco companies are required to report ingredients to the federal Health Minister, but consumers will not find these ingredients listed on any cigarette package or cigarette manufacturer's website.

The CCTC believes "It is time to examine this issue and demand that governments treat the tobacco industry as they do other industries. There is no other consumer product that when used as directed would kill 50% of its consumers. Insisting on similar regulations to the pharmaceutical industry (where full disclosure of product ingredients and possible side effects is mandated) may seem like a good start, but following the lead of the chemical sector might be better" said CCTC Executive Director Bob Walsh. "With over 4,000 chemicals generated by a lit cigarette, one has to wonder why there is not a greater reporting and consumer disclosure mechanism imposed on such a product. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the tobacco industry provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (an MSDS) for tobacco products as the chemical industry does with other harmful products" he added.

A widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, an MSDS is a form with data regarding the properties of a particular substance. An important component of product stewardship and workplace safety, they include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures.1 Many chemicals and products derived from chemicals that require an MSDS are also found in cigarettes, so why not explore this reporting system for tobacco products?

Although not a complete source of health and safety information on its own, the MSDS is a government mandated component in the protection of workers and emergency personnel.2 Other government regulations help keep us safe including the restriction of lead in paints, toxins in children's toys or clothing, and the checks and balances used to ensure pharmaceutical product safety. For instance, before any nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, lozenge, etc.) makes it to market, it undergoes rigorous testing. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry is required to provide detailed information regarding side effects of the drugs it markets. A cigarette (be it a traditional cigarette, cigar, cigarillo or an e-cigarette) is also a nicotine delivery system, but one that is never tested for safety. "It's time to level the playing field and impose on the tobacco industry the same level of accountability and regulation as other industries must face to ensure the protection of Canadians," said Walsh.

NNSW has been observed for more than 30 years and is one of the longest running and most important events in the CCTC's ongoing public education efforts regarding the consequences of tobacco use. Its goals are:

  • to educate Canadians about the dangers of smoking;
  • to prevent people who do not smoke from beginning to smoke and becoming addicted to tobacco;
  • to help people quit smoking;
  • to promote the right of individuals to breathe air unpolluted by tobacco smoke;
  • to denormalize the tobacco industry, tobacco industry marketing practices, tobacco products, and tobacco use; and
  • to assist in the attainment of a smoke-free society in Canada

For more information about NNSW, please visit

1 -
2 - WHMIS Quick Facts - MSDS Checklist

Radioactive Smoke: A Dangerous Isotope Lurks in Cigarettes

PIG 05049 : Christien Meindertsma

A pig in a hundred pieces : Christien Meindertsma


For further information:

Robert Walsh
Executive Director
Canadian Council for Tobacco Control
613 567-3050

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