The Government of Canada implements commitment to plain packaging for tobacco products

News release

Reducing the appeal of tobacco products will help to protect the health of Canadians from tobacco-related death and disease

May 1, 2019                                                    Ottawa, ON                                                 Health Canada

Despite decades of effort to reduce tobacco use, it remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada, killing half of all long-term users. More than 4 million Canadians still use tobacco—about 17% of the population. The vast majority of smokers begin smoking by adolescence or young adulthood. 

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced new regulations for plain and standardized appearance of tobacco packages and products will begin to come into force on November 9, 2019. These packages and products are powerful promotional vehicles. Reducing the appeal of tobacco products is an important step toward protecting Canadians, particularly youth, from inducements to using tobacco products and from the consequent dependence on them. 

The new Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance) are an important milestone under Canada's Tobacco Strategy, which will protect Canadians from tobacco-related death and disease. The Strategy aims to drive down tobacco use to 5% of the Canadian population by 2035. This will mean fewer Canadians will start smoking, more Canadians will quit, and a new generation of healthier Canadians will have a greater awareness of how important it is to never use tobacco products.


“We have fulfilled our commitment to implement plain packaging requirements for tobacco products. The evidence is overwhelming that plain packaging is an effective way to drive down tobacco use, especially among young people. Reducing the rate of smoking among Canadians is a top priority for us.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Canada is demonstrating global leadership by adopting the best tobacco plain packaging requirements in the world. We strongly support these regulations. Tobacco plain packaging will protect youth, reduce tobacco use, and save lives.”

Rob Cunningham
Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society

Quick facts

  • According to the most recent Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), in 2017, 18% of Canadians aged 15 years and older had used at least one tobacco product in the past 30 days, an increase from 15% in 2015.

  • Canada is not alone in implementing plain packaging requirements for tobacco products.  At least 13 other countries have adopted similar measures.

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Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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