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Health board endorses plain, standard graphic packaging for tobacco products

plain-standard-packagingPlain, standard and graphically informative packaging of tobacco products was endorsed Wednesday by the board of health for Hastings Prince Edward counties.

Dr. Richard Schabas, Medical Officer of Health, reported that HPEPH is publicly endorsing the implementation of plain and standard packaging of tobacco products, stating that “public health is aligning across Ontario to support this important and necessary move.”

“Tobacco products are the only legal product that, when used as directed, kill 50 per cent of users prematurely. Their packaging needs to reflect the toxic product inside,” says Dr. Schabas. “To that end, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health supports Plain and Standardized Packaging legislation with an aim to reduce the effectiveness of tobacco marketing and raising awareness of the hazards of tobacco products.”

The federal government would like to implement legislation that will require plain and standardized packaging to minimize strategic marketing by regulating the use of colours, images, logos, slogans, distinctive fonts and finishes – enhancing the visibility and effectiveness of health warnings.

Prior to implementing the legislation, the government must undertake a three-month consultation period, which is taking place until August, 2016. Health Canada has created a questionnaire that is available online and is encouraging all Canadians to provide feedback on the proposed changes before August 31.

World No Tobacco Day – May 31, 2016 – focused on plain and standardized packaging with the following released in a statement:

“Many Canadians may not be aware of how much product promotion and marketing goes into pack design for cigarettes and other tobacco products,” the statement said. “The tobacco industry is well aware of how valuable and effective the pack design is for both enticing new smokers and maintaining brand loyalty among current smokers.

“Currently tobacco companies are manipulating pack size, shape and colour in order to minimize the effectiveness of health warnings as well as to target particular consumer groups.

“Some cigarettes mimic the design of cosmetics and come in sleek, iridescent packages. Other packs feature fold out marketing materials or attractive internal packaging that encourage the user to discard the outside portion that contains vital health warnings. Plain and standard packaging for all brands and types of tobacco products would ensure that all packs are the same size, same shape and same colour. Brand name would be printed in a plain font and no brand colours or logos would be permitted.”

“In Ottawa today, the Federal Health Minister restated that Plain and Standardized Packaging is a top priority. Canada is ready to join other jurisdictions like Australia, the UK, France and Ireland in implementing plain and standardized packaging for tobacco products,” said David Patterson, Health Promoter/Youth Engagement Coordinator for HPE Public Health.

Filed Under: Local News

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