Tobacco Products Regulations: Plain and Standardized Appearance

Tobacco packages, and the products they contain, are powerful promotional vehicles for the tobacco industry to communicate brand imagery and to attract new tobacco users.

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

The Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance) were adopted to protect young persons and others from inducements to use tobacco products and the consequent dependence on them, and to prevent the public from being deceived or misled with respect to the health hazards of using tobacco products.

Moreover, Schedule 1 of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act is also amended through an Order to harmonize the requirements that apply to the use of colouring agents.

These measures start to come into force on November 9, 2019.

The Regulations standardize the appearance of tobacco packages and products through general requirements applicable to all tobacco products, as well as through specific requirements applicable to individual tobacco product types (e.g. tobacco that is rolled in paper or in a wrapper composed of reconstituted tobacco). For instance, all tobacco product packages have to be of the same drab brown colour, bearing only the permitted text displayed in a standard location, font style, colour and size. The size and shape of cigarette packages are also standardized. Tobacco products have to be plain in their appearance, bearing only the permitted text in the prescribed location, font style, colour and size. The colour of most tobacco products is prescribed. Cigarette dimensions and the diameter of little cigars are also standardized.

In addition, the Regulations apply to devices necessary for the use of a product made in whole or in part of tobacco, such as heated tobacco products and their packages, as they are defined as “tobacco products” under the Act.

Related Resources:

Manufacturer and/or an importer of tobacco products can find additional information on the web page: Facts about Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance).

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