Canadian retailers have urged the Canadian Convenience Stores Association to call on the federal government to avoid the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products in the country.

Plain packaging makes it easier for criminals to replicate it.

For the last five years, the rule has been in effect in Australia.

Canada-based retailers are currently raising concern over the policy’s adverse impact on small business retailers in the country.

“We agree with the federal government that proper branding is critical to wrestling away control over the cannabis market from criminals.”

Canadian Convenience Stores Association president Satinder Chera said: “Down under, they assumed that plain packaging of tobacco products would discourage smoking.

“Instead, the overwhelming evidence out of Australia shows the opposite, including a big uptick in the illegal tobacco market.”

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In 2012, Australia became the first country to implement plain packaging legislation for tobacco.

This removed all branding such as logos, trademarks and colours from packages, as well as increased the size of written and graphic health warnings.

The Canadian Government intended to adopt the same policy as part of its Bill S-5, which is currently before the House of Commons.

However, the country has opted not to follow a similar rule for the upcoming legalisation of cannabis sales for the same reasons that the CCSA is opposed to plain packaging for tobacco products.

Chera added: “We agree with the federal government that proper branding is critical to wrestling away control over the cannabis market from criminals.

“Which is why we hope the experience with plain packaging in Australia, and the CCSA’s recent paper on bringing an evidence-based approach to the sale of age-tested products, will help Canada to avoid the same costly mistake that the citizens and small retailers in Australia have endured over the last five years.”