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June 1, 2016

Canada launches public consultations on plain packaging for tobacco products

The Government of Canada has officially launched public consultations on tobacco plain packaging requirements, as part of efforts to protect the health of Canadians and reduce the demand for tobacco products.

The Government of Canada has officially launched public consultations on tobacco plain packaging requirements, as part of efforts to protect the health of Canadians and reduce the demand for tobacco products.

Launched by Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott, the consultations will continue until August and be used to create new regulations for tobacco products.

The new measures are expected to regulate the size and shape of tobacco products and require a uniform, standardised colour and font on all packages.

"Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Canada, and we are committed to fighting this issue from all sides."

Research has revealed that plain packaging measures, such as the removal of logos, textures, colours and brand images, helps make tobacco products less attractive and less appealing.

Philpott said: "I don’t believe tobacco companies should be allowed to build brand loyalty with children, for a product that could kill them.

"Research shows that plain packaging of tobacco products is an effective way to deter people from starting to smoke and will bolster our efforts to reduce tobacco use in Canada.

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"Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Canada, and we are committed to fighting this issue from all sides."

Tobacco-related illnesses are estimated to claim the lives of 37,000 Canadians this year.

More than five million Canadian are still estimated to use tobacco, the use of which results in nearly $4.4bn in direct health care costs being paid in Canada annually.

Currently, 87,000 Canadians become daily smokers each year, with the majority starting during adolescence or young adulthood.

The government stated that previously launched measures requiring pictorial health warnings, which cover 75% of the front and back panels of cigarette and little cigar packages, will be still in place.

In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging.

Last month, the UK, France, and Northern Ireland began to introduce the measure, while the option is being explored by other countries.

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