Health Canada and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges meeting: Various topics – May 5, 2017

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Various Topics


May 5, 2017


Health Canada (HC)

  • Suzy McDonald
    • Director General, Tobacco Control Directorate (TCD) (Chair)
  • Saira David
    • Director, Labelling and Plain Packaging Office (TCD)
  • Denis Choinière
    • Director, Tobacco Products Regulatory Office (TCD)
  • Sonia Johnson
    • Director, Research and Surveillance Unit (TCD)
  • Martin Joyal
    • Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (TCD)
  • Manager, Plain and Standardized Packaging (TCD)
  • A/Senior Advisor to the Director General (TCD)
  • Senior Advisor, Labelling and Plain Packaging (TCD)

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (RBH)

  • Michael Klander
    • Director, Corporate Affairs (RBH)
  • Peter Luongo
    • Managing Director (RBH)
  • Maya Zor
    • Counsel
  • Steve Chapman
    • Manager of Product Development (RBH)


The meeting was held at the request of RBH.

The chair opened the meeting by reiterating that HC’s international obligations as it relates to protecting tobacco control policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry. In addition, in the interest of transparency, HC stated that it would be making a record of the meeting publicly available.

Technical Considerations for the Timing of Plain Packaging Measures

RBH presented an overview of the technical considerations associated with the conversion of its existing manufacturing capacity under various plain packaging scenarios, as well as the sell-through of the product at retail.

RBH requested that, in light of the technical considerations presented, the timelines for implementation be reasonable to allow for production line conversion; that the timelines be consistent with past practice, with additional time for sell-through at retail; that standard cigarette circumference ranges be maintained to minimize conversion requirements; and that existing physical parameters of packaging material be maintained.

Treatment of Heat-Not-Burn Products under Bill S-5

RBH inquired as to whether there was scope for allowance of differentiation for heat-not-burn products under Bill S-5. As this question pertained to a matter of policy, Health Canada reiterated that policy issues would not be discussed. 

Treatment of IQOS under Plain Packaging Measures

RBH indicated that it was important for RBH to be able to differentiate IQOS as a product to consumers, and it would challenge plain packaging measures that might prevent that.

Exit Strategy from Combustible Products

RBH re-stated its intention to move away from combustible tobacco products, with a variety of non-combustible alternatives. 


The meeting was then concluded.


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