OTTAWA, Dec. 30 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society applauds the new cigarette package health warnings announced today by federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. The Society also praises the announcement of a social media campaign that will complement the warnings as part of an integrated plan.
"Minister Aglukkaq has announced a blockbuster for public health," says Daniel Demers, Director of National Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. "This outstanding package of new measures will increase awareness of tobacco's health effects and will reduce smoking among both youth and adults. The Minister and her department deserve praise for work over several years leading to this announcement. The announcement comes just in time for New Year's and provides a further impetus for the many Canadians who will make a resolution to quit smoking."
"The expansion of the initiative to include social media communications will increase overall reach and impact," Demers adds. "This additional thrust deserves support. Moreover, the inclusion of a toll-free quit line number to the package will make it easier for smokers to obtain help in quitting from trained specialists."
The enhanced package warning system for cigarettes and little cigars includes:
- a set of 16 new package health warnings, with an increase in warning size from 50% to 75% of the package front and back;
- the use of testimonials, notably warnings featuring images of the late Barb Tarbox before she died of lung cancer;
- the addition of a toll-free quit line number and a web address to the warning messages. International experience shows that calls to quit lines increase substantially when a toll-free number is added prominently to the package;
- for the first time, the inclusion for the first time of warnings about certain health effects, e.g. bladder cancer and the impact on vision;
- an enhancement of the messages appearing inside the package to include new content as well as colour pictures;
- an improved set of toxic emission messages that will appear in rotation on the side of the package, to replace the existing message;
- the linking of package warnings to a social marketing campaign.
"The effectiveness of health warnings increases with size - the larger the warnings, the greater the impact," says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. "Implementation of the new, larger package warnings will be an important achievement, and will reduce cancer and other tobacco-related diseases in Canada. Moreover, from an international perspective, the new tobacco labelling measures will position Canada as a world leader in this area."
"The new measures announced today build on Bill C-32, also brought forward by Minister Aglukkaq," Cunningham adds. Bill C-32, which received Royal Assent on October 8, 2009, bans flavours in little cigars, cigarettes and blunt wraps, and bans print advertising of tobacco products.
The Canadian Cancer Society looks forward to participating in the public consultations that will occur as part of the regulatory process. The new warnings will be implemented through amendments to the Tobacco Product Information Regulations.
Tobacco products are the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing 37,000 Canadians annually. Tobacco products are responsible for about 30% of cancer deaths and for 85% of lung cancers.
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to fightback.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
For further information: For further information:
Senior Policy Analyst
Canadian Cancer Society
Phone: (613) 565-2522, ext. 305