Volume 94, Issue 59

Tuesday, January 9, 2001


NEWS

York strikes partial win - Contract faculty back to work

New course opens door to alternatives

Cigarettes get new warnings

Teacher's college applicants down 27 per cent

Power outage turns elevators into traps

Briefs

Cigarettes get new warnings



By Daren Lin
Gazette Staff



Canada has recently become the country with the strongest mandatory cigarette warnings labels.

New graphic warning labels, such as images of a rotting mouth or statistics on the social costs of smoking, now occupy a mandatory 50 per cent of the front of all cigarette packages as a part of the new Tobacco Products Information Regulations, explained Andrew Swift, media relations co-ordinator for Health Canada.

Under the new regulations, which according to Swift are the strongest labelling laws in the world, tobacco manufacturers must also provide quitting tips, a list of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and a Web site address for additional information on their packaging.

"Every year, two billion cigarette packages are sold in Canada," said Larraine Fry, general manager of the Non-smokers Rights Association. "Putting a graphic warning label on each of those packages would constitute the largest public health campaign ever made," she added, explaining the reason behind the NSRA's support of the new law.

Despite the new warnings, industry officials are claiming consumers are already aware of potential adverse effects of smoking. "We have been voluntarily putting warnings on our cigarettes since 1972 – we admit cigarettes are not good for you," said Rob Parker, president of the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturer's Council.

Ashraf Abou-Lebadah, a first-year social sciences student, disagreed with the labels. "It won't make a difference to me. I smoke cigarettes not the package. I am just afraid it'll make cigarettes even more expensive."

Still, fourth-year health sciences student Denise Tsui, who does not smoke but has friends that do, said having a visual image will definitely help.

Carla Di Pietro, manager of The Pit Stop in the University Community Centre, said she is unsure of how the new labels will affect sales. "People thought the large [black-and-white] warning labels that came out a few years ago would have a huge impact. But those warnings didn't do anything. We just have to wait and see if these new labels will change things."

Michel Descoteaux, director of public relations for Imperial Tobacco, explained the current ban on tobacco product advertising in Canada, the cigarette package is the only way his company can communicate with smokers.


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