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Feds slow to cough up new rules for cigarette warnings 

Jump to full article: Montreal Gazette (ca), 2010-08-12
Author: Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News


Tobacco companies can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the delay of Health Canada's plan to force them to increase the size of health warnings to cover most of the surface of cigarette packages.

Health Canada shared mock-ups of supersized new warning labels with public-health advocates more than a year ago — with regulations that were expected to be tabled in January to increase the warning size from their current 50 per cent to at least 70 per cent of the package's surface.

The larger, more graphic images would also be accompanied by a national toll-free quit line.

Even industry appeared resigned to the fact that changes were coming, despite companies maintaining that the government should be focused on the illegal cigarette market, where cigarettes are sold without any health warnings or safeguards against youth access.

Last September, a senior executive for Imperial Tobacco Canada told an audience in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of pending Canadian regulations to increase graphic warning labels. But months have since passed, and the file is stalled. . . .

"The government's been working on this for years now and there has been some very unfortunate and inexplicable delays in a new round of cigarette packaging warnings," said Rob Cunningham, a tobacco control specialist at the Canadian Cancer Society.

"Other countries are leapfrogging over Canada in terms of the size and improved content,"

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