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Plain Cigarette Packaging 'The Next Logical Step,' Canadian Cancer Society

10/14/2014 04:00 EDT | Updated 12/14/2014 05:59 EST
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TORONTO - The Canadian Cancer Society says plain packaging for tobacco products is a ‘‘logical next step‘‘ to curb tobacco marketing and save lives.

In a report released Tuesday, the society urges Health Canada to follow Australia and other countries by implementing plain packaging.

Such packaging means tobacco company colours, logo and design elements on package are not allowed. Health warnings would still appear on plain packages.

The society says data from Australia shows smoking has fallen sharply since plain olive brown packaging was introduced in December 2012.

Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France are all in the process of requiring plain packaging.

Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst at the society, says cigarette packages "should not be mini-billboards promoting tobacco use."

"Plain packaging is an important and logical next step for Canada to curb tobacco marketing, reduce smoking and save lives."

The Canadian Cancer Society report also ranks 198 countries and jurisdictions based on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages.

It says Canada is tied for fourth place with Brunei and Nepal with package warnings covering 75 per cent of the package front and back.

Thailand ranks first in the world at 85 per cent, Australia is second at 82.5 per cent and Uruguay is third at 80 per cent.

The society is also urging Health Canada to implement a 2011 commitment to renew health warnings for products other than cigarettes and little cigars.

It says warnings on many tobacco packages have not been changed since 2001.

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