Backgrounder – Plain Packaging

Backgrounder

November 2016

The Government of Canada has launched an ambitious tobacco control agenda for Canada, which includes banning menthol in most tobacco products, implementing plain packaging requirements, introducing a new approach to regulating vaping products, and modernizing Canada’s approach to tobacco control.

Tobacco packages, and the products they contain, have remained powerful promotional vehicles for the industry to communicate positive brand imagery and attract new tobacco users. To combat this, the proposed Tobacco and Vaping Products Act would provide the flexibility to support implementation of a range of options such as standardized colour, font and finish, and prohibitions on promotional information and brand elements, such as logos. These options were considered as part of Health Canada’s recent public consultation on plain packaging for tobacco products.

The Government of Canada has committed to introducing plain packaging requirements, similar to those in Australia. Such measures include restricting elements such as brand colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages.

Plain packaging measures have been proposed to regulate the appearance of both tobacco packages and the products they contain. These measures are intended to reduce inducements to tobacco use, particularly for young people, by limiting their appeal.

Research has shown that standardized, plain tobacco packaging reduces its appeal, particularly among young people. This effect has been demonstrated in research involving both smokers and non-smokers in numerous countries, including Canada.

As part of the federal commitment to introduce plain packaging requirements for tobacco products, a 90-day public consultation was opened on May 31, 2016. During the consultation, Health Canada received more than 58,000 comments, with the overwhelming majority expressing support for the proposal. The information gathered during the consultation process was considered in the development of new regulations for these products.


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