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Harper Government takes action with larger health warnings on tobacco products - Tough new warning labels take effect today

June 19, 2012
For immediate release

Factsheet: Larger Health Warning Messages for Cigarettes and Little Cigars

OTTAWA - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and Chris Alexander, Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering, announced that, as of today, retailers must only sell cigarette and little cigar packages that display the new, larger health warning messages.

"Today we've fulfilled our promise to put new, larger health warnings on cigarette and little cigar packages across Canada," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This initiative continues our efforts to inform Canadians - especially young people - about the health hazards of smoking."

The bold new health warnings cover three-quarters of the front and back of the main panel package and include a Canada-wide quitline phone number and web address.

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation commends the federal government's continued tobacco reduction efforts, including strong graphic and prominent warnings on tobacco packaging," said Bobbe Wood, President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  "Becoming smoke-free not only improves the length and quality of your life, but also the lives of those around you."

The quitline connects smokers to free counselling over the phone, provided by their province or territory, to help them quit. The web address allows smokers to access online smoking cessation resources from provincial, territorial and federal government websites.

"Mackenzie and I would never have envisioned the events that are now unfolding," said Pat Tarbox in a statement today. "Barb's message is as loud and clear as ever, and she would have been taken aback at the magnitude of the work being done since her original campaign. We look forward to seeing fewer and fewer youth smokers - just what she wanted."

In 2010, the smoking rate among Canadians aged 15 and older was 17%, an all-time low. The new health warning messages and quitline are part of the Harper Government's ongoing efforts to preserve the gains made in recent years and to continue the downward trend on smoking prevalence.

More information on the new health-related labels can be found on the Health Canada website.

Please also visit our new, updated quit smoking information on the Healthy Canadians website.

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health (centre) announced that, as of today, retailers must only sell cigarette and little cigar packages that display the new, larger health warning messages. Minister Aglukkaq was joined by Chris Alexander, Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering (right), and Heart and Stroke Foundation President Bobbe Wood (left).

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Media Enquiries:
Health Canada
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Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
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