Health Canada announced late Friday that it was opening public consultations on plain packaging for tobacco products.
The department is proposing regulations that would remove all distinctive branding and attractive features from cigarette packages, such as distinct colours, images and other brand-specific features. The regulations would also restrict how the brand name itself is displayed, possibly making everything the same font size and typeface.
It could also require all packages to be the “same unappealing colour,” according to a press release from the department.
Similar regulations would apply to packages of cigars and other tobacco products.
“Tobacco packages, and the products they contain, have remained powerful promotional vehicles for the tobacco industry to communicate brand imagery and attract new users,” reads the press release.
“Research has shown that plain and standardized tobacco packaging reduces the appeal and attractiveness of tobacco products, especially to youth.”
The government encourages all Canadians to provide their feedback on the proposed regulations. Consultations run until Sept. 6, 2018.
Health organizations quickly applauded the move.
“We strongly support the regulations released today as they are essential for protecting Canadian kids from tobacco industry marketing,” said Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society in a press release.
“Tobacco is addictive and deadly and should not be sold in packages made to be more attractive. Tobacco packaging should not function as mini-billboards promoting tobacco use.”
The proposed regulations would be “the best in the world,” he thinks.
Heart & Stroke said they were “thrilled to see robust regulations” on plain packaging, according to a press release.
“Plain and standardized packaging is another important step in reducing tobacco use which will support more people to quit smoking and will help protect our youth by making these deadly products less appealing,” said Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke.