Regulating tobacco and vaping products: Tobacco regulations

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Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance)

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.

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. 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 appearance, bearing only the permitted text in the prescribed location, font style, colour and size. 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.

Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars)

The Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars) (TPLR-CLC) establish the health-related messages 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 health warnings, 8 health information messages and 4 toxic emissions statements.

Important features of the TPLR-CLC include:

  • pictorial health warnings covering 75% of the front and back of cigarette and little cigar packages;
  • health information messages, enhanced with colours and graphics;
  • a pan-Canadian toll-free quitline number and web address to inform people who use tobacco about the availability of smoking cessation services; and
  • easy-to-understand toxic emissions statements.

Tobacco Products Information Regulations

The Tobacco Products Information Regulations (TPIR) were the first set of regulations to require pictorial health warnings be displayed on tobacco packages. They also mandate the inclusion of health information messages. These messages inform people who use tobacco about the benefits of quitting and provide tips to help live a smoke-free life. The TPIR require the display of a toxic emissions statement on smoked tobacco product packages and, on packages of smokeless tobacco product, the display of a toxic constituents statement showing the mean amounts of nitrosamines, lead and nicotine.

The TPIR apply to cigarette tobacco, kreteks, bidis, leaf tobacco, tobacco sticks, cigars, pipe tobacco as well as smokeless tobacco products.

Tobacco Reporting Regulations

Under the Tobacco Reporting Regulations, Canadian manufacturers and importers must provide Health Canada with information about their tobacco products and, where applicable, the products' emissions. In addition to information on sales, ingredients, manufacturing procedures, promotional activities and research activities, manufacturers and importers must report on over 20 constituents (substances found in tobacco) and 40 emissions (substances found in smoke).

The Tobacco Reporting Regulations were amended in 2005 and in 2019. As part of the latest changes, the official methods for the sampling and testing of tobacco products were updated to reflect technological advances.

Tobacco (Access) Regulations

The Tobacco (Access) Regulations set out the types of documentation that may be used to verify the age of a person wanting to purchase tobacco products. The Regulations also exempt duty-free shop operators from section 11 of the Act, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products by means of a self-service display.

Promotion of Tobacco Products and Accessories Regulations (Prohibited Terms)

The Promotion of Tobacco Products and Accessories Regulations (Prohibited Terms) prohibit the use of the terms "light" and "mild," and variations thereof, on cigarettes, little cigars, bidis, kreteks, cigarette tobacco, tobacco sticks, cigarette papers, filters, and tubes. The Regulations also apply to tobacco accessories, defined in the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act as a product that may be used in the consumption of a tobacco product, including pipes, cigarette holders, cigar clips, lighters, and matches. The prohibition applies to the products, their packaging, advertising, promotions, and to retail displays.

Tobacco (Seizure and Restoration) Regulations

The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act contains enforcement powers that can be exercised by designated tobacco inspectors. These powers include the ability to seize a tobacco product or other item to which the Act applies.

The owner of a seized product or item can apply to a court for restoration of a seized product or item. The Tobacco (Seizure and Restoration) Regulations set out the information that the owner of the seized product must provide to the Minister when such an application is made.

The Regulations also require that the inspector give the owner or person in charge of the place where a product or thing is seized a copy of these Regulations at the time of seizure, so they are aware of restoration procedures.

Cigarette Ignition Propensity (Consumer Products) Regulations

Fires started by lit tobacco products are the leading known cause of fire-related death in Canada. To address this issue, Health Canada requires all cigarettes manufactured or imported for sale in Canada to have a reduced likelihood of igniting upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding.

Since October 2005, Health Canada has been sampling and testing cigarettes to determine whether they comply with the prescribed ignition propensity standard. The table of results of the laboratory analyses conducted on samples collected to date by Health Canada are updated as warranted.

The Cigarette Ignition Propensity (Consumer Products) Regulations replaced the former Cigarette Ignition Propensity Regulations in 2016, and were adopted under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

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