Sign in
Canada's Plain Cigarette Packaging Regulation Will Come Into Effect On November 9, 2019

Canada has taken a lot of initiative in the effort to curb smoking, specifically in young people. Now, Health Canada has taken things a step further with Canada's cigarettes now having plain packaging. Health Canada and anti-smoking advocates are hoping that the new regulations will help to discourage smoking even further.

New cigarette packages will all be standardized to be the same "drab brown colour," according to Health Canada. They will also feature plain text in a standardized font, size, and location across all tobacco products.

According to a press release from Health Canada, the biggest issue with cigarette packaging as it is right now is that the bright and colourful logos are essentially being used as marketing for tobacco companies.

In an email to Narcity, Health Canada noted, "In Canada, 86% of current adult daily smokers had smoked their first cigarette by the age of 18. In 2017 alone, 91,000 Canadians became daily cigarette smokers."

Health Canada also claims that research has shown how plain packaging really does work as a deterrent, especially for young people. The plain packages also help to emphasize the health warnings made on every package of cigarettes. All packs will be changed to a standardized "slide-and-shell format" to allow more surface area for larger health warnings.

Earlier research had shown that those warnings, which often include graphic images depicting the effects of cancer caused by smoking, have been highly effective as a deterrent.

Canada would not be the first country to implement these types of plain packaging designs. Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Norway, and New Zealand all have put similar regulations into place. Other countries will also be taking these steps in the future.

"Canada will have the best tobacco plain packaging in the world," Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society told Narcity. "It's essential to protect kids from the marketing strategies of tobacco companies."

Cunningham continued, saying, "Cigarette packages should not be mini-billboards portraying positive lifestyle images."

Uglier packaging was first proposed in 1994 by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, after he had lowered the tax on cigarettes to fight the contraband market (although in 2008, it was determined that two of Canada's largest tobacco suppliers had actually helped create the contraband market. They were fined over $1 billion).

canada plain cigarette packaging

The new packaging regulations will come into effect on November 9, 2019, with cigarette retailers having 90 days to sell all of their old supply

The choice of colour for the new cigarette packaging was also driven by research. In an email to Narcity, Alexander Cohen, press secretary for the Office of the Minister of Health, wrote, "When Australia implemented plain packaging, they tested several different colours and found that a package with a dark, drab brown colour (specifically Pantone 448C) was both the least appealing and least likely to induce smoking."

Cohen also noted that Pantone 448C has been used in every jurisdiction with plain cigarette packaging regulations. "We’re firmly committed to driving Canada’s smoking rate below five percent by 2030, and will consider all tools at our disposal to get there," he wrote.

Disclaimer: Cover photo on the right used for illustrative purposes only.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.