Canada: New warnings by June 2012

September 27, 2011

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq today announced the finalization of regulations to require the new set of health warnings on packages of cigarettes and little cigars.  The warnings will increase in size from 50% to 75%.  The warnings will be required at the manufacturer/importer level as of March 21, 2012, and at the retailer level as of June 19, 2012.

The new requirements include

  • A set of 16 new package health warnings, with an increase in warning size from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of the package front and back.
  • The use of testimonials, notably warnings featuring images of the late Barb Tarbox before she died of lung cancer, as well as Leroy Kehler who speaks through a hole in his throat following cancer of the larynx (voice box).
  • The addition of a toll-free quit line number and a web address to the warning messages.
  • For the first time, warnings about certain health effects, e.g. bladder cancer and vision loss, are included.
  • A set of eight new full-colour picture-based messages appearing inside the package.
  • An improved set of toxic emission messages that will appear in rotation on the side of the package, to replace the existing message.

Regulations to prohibit the use of the descriptors “light” and “mild” have also received final approval.  These misleading terms have already been removed for most (but not all) brands, pursuant to individual company settlements with the federal Competition Bureau.

To see the newly required messages, visit: