The Government of Canada’s new plain and standardised packaging regulations for tobacco products will come into effect on 9 November.
Under the new laws, tobacco and cigarette manufacturers will be required to remove distinctive and attractive features from packaging and products to reduce the appeal.
New packaging norms will allow text to be displayed on the packages in a standard location, font, colour and size.
Standardised cigarette packaging will feature a slide-and-shell format, according to Health Canada, the department of the Government of Canada responsible for national public health.
Regulations standardise the size and appearance of cigarettes as well as other tobacco products.
The government framed the regulations, taking into consideration global research that showed plain and standardised packaging makes tobacco and products less appealing.
Through these measures, the government intends to protect the health of Canadians from tobacco-related death and disease.
According to government data, about 17% of the population still use tobacco.
The regulations are part of the country’s Tobacco Strategy, where the government aims to reduce tobacco use to 5% of the population by 2035.
Focus is on spreading awareness of the dangers of using tobacco products. This is intended to wean away existing smokers from smoking and warn new tobacco users of the health hazards caused by tobacco products.
Canada Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said: “We have fulfilled our commitment to implement plain packaging requirements for tobacco products. The evidence is overwhelming that plain packaging is an effective way to drive down tobacco use, especially among young people. Reducing the rate of smoking among Canadians is a top priority for us.”
A number of countries have already implemented stringent tobacco packaging measures. Australia became the first nation to fully implement plain packaging in 2012.
The World Health Organization stated that a host of other nations followed suit, with France, the UK, and Ireland passing laws to begin implementing plain packaging from May 2016.
In March last year, New Zealand started enforcing standardised packaging for tobacco products.
Cigarette manufacturer Imperial Tobacco Canada denounced the government’s move, stating that there is no evidence of the significant impact of such policies on reducing smoking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada Corporate and Regulatory Affairs head Eric Gagnon said: “We remain shocked that, despite all of the evidence, the Government of Canada is moving ahead with bad public policy.
“The experience of other countries demonstrates that plain packaging does not change consumer behaviour and that it’s a proven way to fuel an already booming illegal tobacco market in Canada.”
The company threatened to go to court in June last year over Canada’s proposed plain packaging regulations.