TORONTO, May 1, 2019 /CNW/ - New rules for the plain packaging of all tobacco products are a missed opportunity for Canada to transition smokers off cigarettes to less harmful smoke-free technologies, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges Inc. (RBH) said.
Health Canada today published the final regulations under the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act outlining the new rules for the plain packaging of all tobacco products. The regulations take effect November 2019.
The new rules require the packaging of combustible cigarettes and smoke-free alternatives to appear identical, even though the products inside are very different.
But with all packs looking the same, Canadian smokers may have the misconception that all tobacco products have the same health risk instead of knowing there are better alternatives to cigarettes.
These new regulations were issued despite a growing body of international scientific evidence that shows switching completely from combustible cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives presents less risk of harm than continuing to smoke.
"We are committed to a smoke-free future for Canadians. Our goal is to stop selling cigarettes, but we can only do that expeditiously if smokers are aware of their alternatives," said Peter Luongo, managing director of RBH.
"The best health option is never to start smoking cigarettes or to quit entirely, but for those who don't quit, breakthrough innovations in smoke-free, non-combustible technologies, such as heating or vaping, are a better option for Canadian smokers to leave cigarettes behind. Unfortunately, these new packaging rules will not help educate smokers about the different alternatives available."
Bill S-5 explicitly prohibits any company manufacturing, importing or retailing a heated tobacco product from providing adult smokers with evidence-based information about tobacco alternatives to cigarettes. The final regulations published today make it even more difficult to communicate with smokers and mean that millions of Canadians may continue to smoke cigarettes rather than know about their option to switch to a less harmful alternative, such as heated tobacco.
QUOTES: Peter Luongo, Managing Director, RBH
- "We are committed to a smoke-free future for Canadians. Our goal is to stop selling cigarettes."
- "The federal government can make Canada smoke-free faster by letting Canadians know more about their choices."
- "Tobacco and nicotine-containing products are addictive and not risk-free. But not all tobacco products have the same risks."
- "Science is showing smoke-free devices have the potential to present less risk of harm than continuing to smoke."
- "Innovative tobacco alternatives, such as heating, are different than smoking cigarettes and should be part of a common-sense approach by governments to improve overall public health."
- "Canadians expect more transparent information about the risks and alternatives to smoking, so Ottawa should reconsider its tobacco packaging rules to differentiate the relative health risks among different tobacco products. Such a change could accelerate the government's goal of reducing the number of Canadians who smoke."
SPECIFICS OUTLINED IN GAZETTE II:
- Applying the regulations to packaging of all tobacco products
- Cigarette packages will be required to have one consistent colour – a drab brown
- Slide-and-shell pack format only with specific dimensional ranges for the overall package size
- Prohibiting brand colours, graphics and logos on packages
- Brand names can still appear on packages, but will be limited to one line of standardized text and cannot evoke a color or reference a filter technology in the brand name
- Requiring the largest health warnings on cigarette packages in the world in terms of surface area
- Banning slim and superslim cigarettes, as well as stylish "purse packs" appealing to young women and girls and cigarettes longer than 85 mm, meaning that "glamorous" 100 mm cigarettes will be banned
- Heated tobacco products will be subject to the same plain packaging requirements as cigarettes, including the requirement that packages must be printed in the standardized color, both inside and out
About Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., an affiliate of Philip Morris International Inc., is one of Canada's leading tobacco companies and employs nearly 800 people across the country with its headquarters in Toronto and a factory in Québec City. RBH is a certified Top Employer 2019 in Canada for excellence in employee conditions.
Philip Morris International: Delivering a Smoke-Free Future
Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company and its shareholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S. PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. PMI's smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of March 31, 2019, PMI estimates that approximately 7.3 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to PMI's heat-not-burn product, which is currently available for sale in 44 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand. For more information, please visit www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.
SOURCE Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
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