Monthly Archives: October 2010

Graphic images on cigarette packages in Jersey

Oct 27, 2010

Photographs showing the effect of smoking are to be featured on cigarette packets in Jersey. Deputy Ann Pryke has drawn up regulations which would see photographs of the impact of smoking on individual cigarette and tobacco packets. She says the aim of the regulations are to reinforce current written warnings and to discourage young people from starting smoking. The pictorial health warnings match those currently used across the EU. The regulations – which amend the 1973 Restriction on Smoking act – follow a public consultation, which helped identify 14 pictures which will be stuck on tobacco packets. These include a throat tumour, rotten teeth and an image of a child exhaling smoke.

Andrew Heaven from the Public Health team told BBC Jersey the written warnings on packets aren’t enough. Mr Heaven said: “We think that these pictorial warnings will reinforce the written warnings that current exist on tobacco packaging. “That, with all the other initiatives we have got around tobacco control will further reduce the prevalence of smoking.”

The graphic images on cigarette packaging is one part of the island’s tobacco control strategy. The strategy will include a range of measures which aim to reduce harm caused by smoking in Jersey. It includes plans to reduce the number of children and young people starting smoking, protecting families and communities from tobacco related harm and motivating and helping smokers to quit. If approved, pictorial warnings could be on tobacco products by 2011.


Source: BBC Jersey (October 25, 2010)

Philippines pictorial warnings: Legal battle

Oct 22, 2010

THE Health Department scored its first victory in compelling cigarette manufacturers to put pictures of diseased tissues and organs caused by smoking on cigarette packs, and after a Batangas court dismissed Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corp.’s plea asking it to dump the department’s order.

The Tanauan Regional Trial Court dismissed the cigarette maker’s plea in an order dated Sept. 23. The Manila Standard obtained a copy of the decision by Judge Arcadio Manigbas of Branch 83.

Manigbas ruled that Philip Morris represented the same interests in the petition filed by Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco in Marikina on June 3 this year.

The court upheld the Health Department’s Administrative Order 2010-0013 prohibiting cigarette companies from using the terms “low tar,” “light,” “ultra-light,” “mild,” “extra,” and “ultra” in cigarette packets.

But the case in Batangas is only one of five filed by the tobacco firms against the department in their battle against graphic warnings in cigarette packs.

The tobacco firms filed similar cases against the department in June in Marikina, Parañaque, Malolos and Pasig, with the Malolos and Parañaque courts favoring them.

Health Undersecretary Alexander Padilla said the decision in the Batangas case was an “occasion where the right to health of Filipinos prevailed over the moneyed interests of a transnational tobacco company,”

“With this win, the public should expect them to start complying instead of pursuing these duplicitous suits,” Padilla said.


Source: Manilla Standard Today (October 20, 2010)

Canada: New picture warnings delays

Oct 6, 2010

After more than six years of study, design and focus groups, the federal government has halted its plan to require tobacco companies to update the warnings on the side of cigarette packages with larger and more grotesque images.

Health Canada told provinces and territories attending a closed-door meeting in Newfoundland two weeks ago that its tobacco strategy will instead concentrate on the problem of contraband cigarettes, an issue that has been highlighted by the tobacco industry.

The decision to walk away from the complex task of changing and enhancing the nine-year-old messages that are emblazoned on cigarette packages comes after the expense of much time, effort and millions of dollars of public money.

The move surprised the provinces, which had been looking forward to the establishment of a toll-free line to help smokers quit. The number of that hotline was to have been incorporated into the new package design.

Ida Chong, B.C.’s Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, said she had been eager to see the national “quit line” up and running.

“It was a bit of a disappointment,” Ms. Chong said Monday of the federal decision to abandon the package-renewal program. “We know that warning labels to tobacco packages do work. We know that a quit line is helpful.” At the health ministers’ meeting, she said: “a number of us said we would have liked to move on these issues.”

Officials of other provinces contacted by The Globe and Mail on Monday also expressed disappointment in the federal government’s decision. Health Canada would say only that it “continues to examine the renewal of health warning messages on tobacco packaging but is not ready to move forward at this time.”

The federal department had been examining the benefits of requiring tobacco companies to increase the warnings to cover 90 per cent of the packages. It had also been evaluating the impact of new images, including one of a dying Alberta cancer patient, Barb Tarbox, who spent the last months of her life warning Canadians about the consequences of smoking.

Anti-tobacco lobby groups say they believe the government is afraid of taking on the big cigarette companies.

“I would expect that the tobacco industry has been lobbying against these warnings just as they have lobbied against improvements to warnings on tobacco packages over the last 20 years,” said Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.

Garfield Mahood, the executive director of the Non-Smokers Rights Association, said he has heard that, when the industry learned about the revisions that Health Canada was planning, “things started to slow right down.”

Eric Gagnon, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco, said his company believes the existing warning labels are sufficient to convey the health risks associated with smoking. Everyone agrees that the biggest issue related to tobacco is contraband, said Mr. Gagnon. “So I think it would be important for Health Canada to put its efforts on the contraband issue.”

JTI-Macdonald, another big tobacco company, also said the government’s priority right now should be solving the huge problem of illegal tobacco.

But it is unclear why the government cannot pursue tobacco smugglers at the same time it is updating the warning labels.

New statistics released on Monday by the federal government show that fewer Canadians are giving up smoking. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of smokers over the age of 15 fell from 25 per cent of the population to 19 per cent. That’s a decline of six percentage points. But between 2005 and 2009, that figure dropped by just one percentage point.

Cynthia Callard, the executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, said the tobacco companies have been able to prevent many smoking-related health measures by threatening job losses and legal disputes.

The fact that the federal government’s decision was announced to the provincial ministers behind closed doors, said Ms. Callard, “speaks to the fact that it doesn’t make sense and that there is something fishy going on.”


Source: The Globe and Mail (September 28, 2010)