Plain and Standardized Packaging

Backgrounder

May 2018

The Government of Canada’s new vision for addressing tobacco use includes modernizing Canada’s approach to tobacco control, introducing a new approach to regulating vaping products, and implementing plain and standardized packaging requirements for tobacco packaging and the products they contain.

Tobacco packages, and the products they contain, have remained powerful promotional vehicles for the tobacco industry to communicate positive brand imagery and attract new tobacco users. The Government of Canada has committed to introducing plain packaging requirements similar to those now in place in Australia and the United Kingdom. 

Bill S-5 introduces amendments to the Tobacco Act to enable the Government to fully implement plain and standardized packaging regulations. The proposed regulations include provisions to restrict elements such as brand colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages. 

Research has shown that plain and standardized packaging reduces the appeal and attractiveness of tobacco products, especially to youth. This effect has been demonstrated in research conducted on both non-smokers and smokers in numerous countries, including Canada. 

As part of the federal commitment to introducing plain and standardized packaging requirements for tobacco products, a 90-day public consultation was held in 2016. During the consultation, Health Canada received more than 58,000 comments, with the overwhelming majority expressing support for the proposal. 

In the coming months, Health Canada will pre-publish proposed regulations to require standardized tobacco packaging to Canada Gazette, Part I for consultation. The information gathered during the initial consultation process is being used in the development of the regulatory proposal for these products. 


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