Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars)

The  Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars) (TPLR-CLC) are an important component of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, which aims to reduce the smoking rates in Canada. The TPLR-CLC, which came into force in September 2011, stipulate the requirements for the health-related labels that must be displayed on cigarette and little cigar packages. They replace the Tobacco Products Information Regulations, in place since 2000, for cigarettes and little cigars.

The TPLR-CLC require 16 new health warning messages, 8 new health information messages and 4 new toxic emissions statements.

Important features of the TPLR-CLC include:

Products Affected

  • Cigarettes
  • Little cigars -- that is, rolls or tubular constructions that contain a filler of natural or reconstituted tobacco and have a wrapper, or binder and wrapper, of natural or reconstituted tobacco, and:
    • Weigh 1.4 g or less (excluding the weight of any mouthpiece or tip), or
    • Have a cigarette filter.

Transition Period

The regulations came into force on September 22, 2011. The regulations provide a transition period of up to 6 months for industry to introduce the new labels on packages, and a further 3 months for retailers to transition between existing packages and those displaying the new messages.

As of March 21, 2012, manufacturers and importers of cigarettes and/or little cigars will be prohibited from selling or distributing packages of cigarettes and little cigars that do not display the new health warnings.

Retailers have up to June 18, 2012 to sell their inventory of cigarettes displaying the old health warnings. As of June 19, 2012, only packages of cigarettes and little cigars that display the new health warnings can legally be sold at retail.

Individuals or entities that only package or only distribute tobacco products on behalf of a manufacturer will not be affected by the coming into force of the provisions of the new regulations. It is the responsibility of manufacturers and retailers to comply with the regulations by the dates indicated.

Although the TPLR-CLC is currently being challenged in court, please note that the implementation of the regulations, including the transition dates for compliance, is not affected by these proceedings.

For More Information

Further questions on the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers and retailers under the TPLR-CLC can be directed to the Health Canada Office in your region.

Manufacturers and importers can also contact their regional office to obtain a copy of the source document entitled Labelling Elements for Tobacco Products (Cigarettes and Little Cigars), which is referenced in the TPLR-CLC.

The  full text of the regulations is available on the Department of Justice Laws website.

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