National Non-Smoking Week Theme Unveiled at National Conference

OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - As the 8th National Conference on Tobacco or Health wrapped up, Truth in Advertising was announced as the theme for National Non-Smoking Week, which takes place January 19-25, 2014.  Delegates at the conference were also given a sneak preview of the week's visual; a cigarette pack shaped liked a coffin.

"If tobacco companies were truthful in their advertising, their packaging would be in the shape of a coffin," said Bob Walsh, executive director, Canadian Council for Tobacco Control. "It's no secret that cigarettes are the most dangerous product on the market - when used as directed, they have a fifty per cent kill rate. Yet the tobacco industry continues to use branding and product packaging to attract youth and to make their deadly products appear safe."

Canada has had many successes in tobacco control policy that removed the tobacco industry's ability to advertise, sponsor events and use power walls in convenience stores. This leaves the cigarette pack as the last place for companies to market their brands to consumers.

"The brand is at the core of tobacco industry marketing," continued Walsh. "When you come right down to it, a cigarette is chemicals, dried leaves and paper. Tobacco companies have only been able to make smoking seem cool, glamorous and sophisticated through aggressive and unethical marketing."

Australia became the first country to enact a plain packaging policy, and an Australian study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal showed that 70 per cent of respondents found smoking less satisfying and 81 per cent were more likely to think about quitting at least once a day.

"Once you take the branding away and show the product for what it truly is, you need to offer consumers a way out," said Walsh. "That's why National Non-Smoking Week is so important, to remind people that it's never too late to quit - supports are there for you."

Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, National Non-Smoking Week has been observed annually for more than 30 years. It is one of the longest running and most important events in Canada's ongoing public health education efforts.

SOURCE: National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

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