News: Plain-packaging for Tobacco Being Requested in Québec
The Health Committee of Québec’s National Assembly is scheduled to hear from several anti-tobacco groups on Tuesday and Wednesday, including the Canadian Cancer Society who will be stressing four key points regarding tobacco:
- The abolition of flavors for all tobacco products covered by the Tobacco Act.
- The supervision of electronic cigarettes.
- The adoption of standardized plain packaging for all tobacco products.
- A moratorium on marketing tobacco products.
The CCS’ delegation will consist of Mélanie Champagne, Director of Public Issues for CCS’ Quebec Division, along with Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst at CCS. They will be joined by Micheline Bélanger, a survivor of lung cancer. The delegation plans to encourage the Committee to strengthen the Tobacco Act and communicate its concerns about youth smoking initiation.
Also in attendance to speak before the Committee will be the Honourable Nicola Roxon, Labour Party Member of Australia’s Parliament and the country’s former Minister of Health. She will be sharing her experience with obtaining the neutral and standardized packaging in Australia, where plain packaging for cigars and other tobacco products was put in place on December 1, 2012. Australia was the first country in the world to enact such an ordinance.
“In Australia, as in Quebec, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and for us not to do so amounted to let die thousands of our fellow citizens,” Roxon said in a press release. “It was important that the millions of packages flowing into the hands of smokers cease to act as mobile billboards advertising of tobacco. With the support of the population and a healthy dose of political courage, our government has been able to stand up to the tobacco companies and adopt a law that restricts the ability of their packaging to speak, as those are their most valuable promotional tools,” she added.
In a statement issued by the Québec Coalition for Tobacco Control, the group said that ”among the measures requested by health groups, there is no doubt that the regulation of packaging is a priority.” The group said that “the beautiful and stylized formats give the impression that the product inside is rather trivial – when in reality it kills half of its users.”