Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jordan: New picture warnings

Jan 12, 2011

New graphic images depicting the negative impact of smoking on health will soon be dominating cigarette packets across the country, according to health officials.

Four images featuring lung and lip cancers and stained teeth will be printed on 50 per cent of one side of each cigarette packet under an initiative spearheaded by the health ministry to highlight diseases related to smoking.

“The warning images will also include a pregnant woman smoking to highlight the risks associated with smoking during pregnancy,” Bassam Hijjawi, director of the ministry’s disease control department, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.

He added that the unsightly images will be featured on all tobacco products within the next six months, noting that the initiative was delayed by logistical issues.

Last year, the health ministry studied the possibility of enlarging the graphic warning printed on tobacco packets from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

“Such a move requires a lot of money and effort from tobacco companies…we should be patient,” he said, stressing that such warning graphics have shown significant results in other countries as these images reduce the appeal of cigarettes.

“This is why a lot of tobacco companies have resorted to giving away free leather cases to hide the images,” Hijjawi said, indicating that Jordan was the first country in the region to put warning graphics on cigarette packets.

Under its adoption of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC), in 2006 the Kingdom obliged local tobacco companies to include an image of diseased lungs on cigarette packs as an additional warning against the dangers of smoking.

The image occupies one-third of one side of a cigarette packet, while a written warning against smoking covers a third of the other side.

The FCTC, the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organisation (WHO), was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003 and entered into force on February 27, 2005. It currently has 166 member parties, according to the WHO.

Article 9 of the convention requires state parties to develop and enforce measures to regulate the contents and emissions of tobacco products, while Article 10 stipulates adopting and implementing measures to require tobacco product manufacturers to disclose the contents and emissions of their products to authorities, in addition to making this information publicly available.


Source: The Jordan Times (January 12, 2011)

Canada: Vogue brand ad campaign

Jan 5, 2011

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, a new poster promoting smoking as a glamorous, sexy, lifestyle choice.

Showing a svelte woman in a party dress, the poster for Vogue cigarettes was distributed to provincial tobacco retailers and depicts smoking as something trendy done by beautiful people, an anti-smoking coalition said yesterday.

“You can’t get more ‘lifestyle’ than the popular fashion magazine, Vogue,” said Flory Doucas of the Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac.

“The ad is trying to change the perception of a deadly addictive product, branding it as socially acceptable to a segment of Quebec population,” Doucas said. “It’s clearly a cigarette for women.”

Posters went on display in retailers’ stockrooms, away from customers’ eyes, she explained.

But many people saw it given that Quebec has 7,000 tobacco retailers, Doucas said, and the poster still flouts the Tobacco Act, which forbids nearly all tobacco advertising.

Health groups -in particular, anti-tobacco organizations -have been calling for regulatory changes for a long time. “We have filed numerous complaints over the last several

quebecoise pour le controle du tabac

years,” Doucas said, regarding tobacco companies circumventing the goals of the law on promoting and selling tobacco products.

In June 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the Tobacco Act, and the validity of federal legislation restricting tobacco advertising, barring tobacco sponsorships and requiring larger warnings on cigarette packages.

The law does allow advertising in publications, direct mail and bars.

The coalition also deplored the timing of the poster and new festive tobacco packaging.

“December is a key time for new packaging. It’s also a crucial time when many smokers promise themselves they would quit,” Doucas said. “Tobacco companies are finding ways to promote their products in attractive new ways.

“If we needed a reminder that the current law needs to be strengthened … well, here it is.”

About 30 per cent of cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer deaths are caused by tobacco, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Officials at Imperial Tobacco of Canada could not be reached for comment.


Source: Montreal Gazette (December 29, 2010)


Canada: New, larger picture warnings

Jan 4, 2011

The federal government has introduced new rules that will force tobacco companies to include larger and more graphic anti-smoking warning labels on cigarette packages.

Once the rules are enacted, the new anti-smoking ads will cover 75 per cent of the package, instead of the current required 50 per cent, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Thursday.

One of the new labels features a deathbed photograph of former Canadian model Barb Tarbox, who became an anti-smoking activist before her death from lung cancer in 2003 at age 42.

The labels will also display a phone number for a quit-smoking hotline, while a social media campaign will be launched targeting smokers aged 20-24, the minister told reporters in Ottawa.

“We know that having the warnings is still the most effective method to warn smokers of the health risks of smoking,” Aglukkaq said.

Despite the minister’s announcement on Thursday, it could still be some time before Canadians actually start seeing the labels on cigarette packs.

Aglukkaq said she hopes to introduce the legislation “as soon as possible” in the new year.

But once the rules are passed, Health Canada must notify the tobacco companies and give them a transition period before the label rules come into effect, an official in Aglukkaq’s department said.

In a statement on Thursday, Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. said it “lamented” Aglukkaq’s decision to impose new regulations on the legal tobacco industry and accused the minister of abandoning her commitment to tackle Canada’s contraband tobacco problem.

Aglukkaq, who had initially planned to introduce the new labels in September, has been criticized for not bringing in the updated warnings sooner.

Earlier this month, CBC News revealed that tobacco executives have been carrying out a lobbying campaign against revised labelling for the past two years.

The tobacco companies argued the warnings didn’t leave them enough room for branding. They said the government should fight the sale of contraband cigarettes instead.

But Aglukkaq insisted Thursday she had not met with tobacco lobbyists and the federal government never abandoned plans to reinforce the warning labels.

“I’ve always said we’d move forward with this, and we’re moving forward today,” she said.

Tories tried to bury campaign: Liberals, NDP

But Opposition MPs said the government only acted now because of intense public pressure following reports that the Conservatives were suspending the planned campaign after spending nearly $4 million developing the warnings.

“Takes a lot of voices together to overcome lobbyist influence w this gov’t. We did it!” NDP MP Megan Leslie wrote on Twitter after Aglukkaq’s announcement.

“Only public uproar over the influence of the tobacco lobby has forced them to change course, and so here they are with a hasty announcement designed to cover their tracks buried in the holiday season,” Liberal health critic Ujjal Dosanjh said in a release.

‘Size matters’

The government’s move was immediately applauded by several health advocacy groups, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

“With warning labels, size matters,” said Heart and Stroke Foundation chair Irfhan Rawji.

“Giving Canadians the straight-up goods on the dangers of tobacco industry products in a more prominent and visible way is a significant step in the ongoing battle to reduce tobacco consumption.”

Garfield Mahood, executive director of the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, told CBC News the current warning labels have grown “extremely stale” over the past decade.

“No corporation would ever run for 10 years with the same advertising campaign, with the same messaging, to the consumers of the message,” Mahood said.

But Mike McInnis of Charlottetown said he believes more graphic labelling of cigarettes is a waste of time. He’s been smoking since he was 18, and said he can’t quit, even after losing his wife recently to lung cancer.

“It’s pathetic. It’s not effective. Never was,” he told CBC News in reference to the labelling about the dangers of smoking. “People know how bad it is. Like I say, I see it. I lost my wife.

“I think if the government had some guts and just turned around and got rid of cigarettes completely, a lot of people would be a lot more healthier.”


Source: CBC News (December 30, 2010)