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Graphic tobacco product labelling requirements were first adopted in 2000 to increase awareness of the health hazards and health effects associated with tobacco use. The labels combine strong images with messages that are noticeable, informative and credible.
In September 2011, the Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars) came into force with strengthened labelling requirements for cigarettes and little cigar packages. The requirements include:
The Tobacco Products Information Regulations, which came into force in 2000 and were amended in 2011, continue to apply to health labelling requirements for tobacco products other than cigarettes and little cigars, such as kreteks, bidis, leaf tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco as well as smokeless tobacco products.
Graphic health warnings are prominently displayed on the front and back of most tobacco packages in Canada and primarily focus on the health hazards posed by tobacco use. On cigarette and little cigar packages, all warnings include a toll-free, pan-Canadian quitline number and web address that link smokers to cessation services in their province or territory.
Health information messages are found inside tobacco packages. They focus primarily on the benefits of quitting and provide tips to help people quit. For some tobacco products, health information messages also provide detailed information on the hazards of tobacco use.
Toxic emissions/constituents information is displayed on the side of most tobacco packages. For cigarettes and little cigars, this information is in the form of short statements about the health impacts of specific toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Other tobacco products provide a list of some of the toxins found in the product or emissions from the product.