Global demand for the implementation of plain packaging for tobacco products is increasing, according to data presented by the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Canadian Cancer Society report, Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report, has announced rankings for 198 countries and jurisdictions based on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages, as well as listing countries that have finalised requirements for picture warnings.
According to the figures released, Canada ranks fourth, with package warnings covering 75% of the package front and back.
Canadian Cancer Society senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham said: "Plain packaging is an important and logical next step for Canada to curb tobacco marketing, reduce smoking and save lives.
"Cigarette packages should not be mini-billboards promoting tobacco use.
"We urge Health Canada to follow the lead of Australia and other countries and take action to implement plain packaging in order to reduce the appeal of these cancer-causing products."
Canadian Cancer Society also requests Health Canada to renew health warnings for tobacco products, apart from cigarettes and little cigars, as warnings on packages for many tobacco products, including roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars, have not been changed since 2001.
The report stresses the need for adoption of higher tobacco taxes, regulation of electronic cigarettes and increased funding to support additional programming and policy measures to reduce tobacco consumption besides plain packaging.
The report points to popular research to demonstrate the effectiveness of plain packaging. Statistical data from Australia shows significant reduction in smoking since plain packaging was introduced in December 2012, requiring all tobacco brands to be packaged in the same olive-brown colour.
Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and France are currently engaged in the process of introducing plain packaging.