CNIB says new regulations for tobacco products labelling good news
TORONTO, June 13, 2012 /CNW/ - As of next week, June 19, retailers can
only legally sell packages of cigarettes and little cigars that display
new health warnings, including "risk of blindness." CNIB commends
Health Canada for mandating the new warning about blindness, which
specifically highlights the risk of age-related macular degeneration
(AMD). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians 50 years
"We know that primary and second-hand smoke from cigarettes is a major
risk factor for AMD," said Dr. Keith Gordon, CNIB's Vice-President,
Research. "If you smoke you are up to three to four times more likely
to develop AMD."
CNIB's Dr. Gordon had previously bemoaned the fact that Canada had no
requirements that cigarette packaging carry a warning about smoking and
blindness, while other countries like Australia already had such
requirements in place.
He said: "Quitting can make a difference. Studies indicate that a
person's risk for AMD will decrease each year they don't smoke, so that
after 20 years the risk is equal to that of someone who has never
AMD causes damage to the macula, the central part of the retina
responsible for seeing fine details (such as reading print or seeing
faces). People with AMD generally experience blurred central vision and
a growing central blind spot.
In addition to AMD, smoking is a risk factor for developing cataracts as
well as vision loss from damage to the retina due to diabetes.
Living with vision loss can be difficult. Clinical depression is three
times as common in people with vision loss compared to the general
population. And seniors with vision loss face twice the risk of falls
and four times the hip fractures.
"If there weren't already compelling enough reasons for you to quit
smoking, think about the risk to your vision," urged Dr. Gordon.
For more information about AMD, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or other
eye conditions, visit: http://www.cnib.ca/en/your-eyes/eye-conditions/
For more information about the new Health Canada regulations, visit: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/legislation/reg/label-etiquette/index-eng.php. Information and resources for those who are considering quitting
smoking is available at: www.gosmokefree.gc.ca/quit
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based
support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are
blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and
opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.
For further information:
Or to schedule an interview with Dr. Keith Gordon, a local CNIB spokesperson or someone who has vision loss due to an eye disease, please contact:
Erika Bennett, Public Relations Specialist
(416) 486-2500 ext. 8355