TORONTO – A bold new approach to warning labels on tobacco could help make Canada smoke-free by 2035, a leading tobacco company said today.
Warning labels have not kept pace with innovation and the introduction of new products such as vaping and electronically-heated tobacco that have different health risks than cigarettes, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH) said in a submission to Health Canada.
Ottawa should tailor new warning labels to ensure consumers understand the actual risk each tobacco product poses, RBH said in response to a government consultation on warning labels that closed today.
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act currently lumps all tobacco products together and regulates them the same, even if they have different health impacts.
Cigarettes and other burning tobacco products are the most harmful to public health. RBH proposes those items should continue to have the most restrictive labelling and warning requirements.
The best choice for a smoker is to quit, RBH said, but others will choose to continue to use tobacco.
These Canadians should have access to the most truthful and accurate information available on the actual health effects of different tobacco products, such as heated tobacco.
Such an approach by Ottawa would help Canadians understand better the risks of tobacco use and options of less-harmful alternatives to smoking cigarettes.
Health Canada already recognizes the risks are not the same from all nicotine-containing products. It recently introduced draft statements of the comparative risks of vaping versus smoking.
RBH is committed to a smoke-free Canada by 2035.
- “We are committed to a smoke-free future for Canadians. Our goal is to stop selling cigarettes.”
- “Ottawa can bring an end to cigarettes in Canada faster by giving Canadians more accurate information about their choices to abstain, to quit or to switch to less-harmful products.”
- “Tobacco and nicotine-containing products are addictive and not risk-free. But not some tobacco products are less risky than others – the warning labels should make it clear not all products have the same risks.”
- “Innovation and technology can provide Canadians with better choices for tobacco.”
- “Canadians expect more information about the risks and alternatives to smoking and Ottawa should update warning labels to make that fully transparent.”
- “Ottawa should tailor new warning labels to the actual risk of each tobacco product so Canadians can make informed choices.”
– Peter Luongo, Managing Director, RBH
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM RBH SUBMISSION TO HEALTH CANADA:
- RBH supports truthful, accurate and non-misleading warning labels for tobacco products.
- RBH supports the recommendation that all tobacco packaging contain quitline information.
- RBH supports expanding the 75 per cent health warning requirements for cigarettes and little cigars to other combustible tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco and roll-your-own.
- Even though existing labelling regulations do not apply to heated tobacco products, RBH voluntarily includes heath warnings on its HEETS packaging.
- RBH supports Health Canada’s proposal to extend truthful, accurate and non-misleading labelling information to heated tobacco products.
A complete copy of RBH’s submissions to Health Canada is available upon request.
About Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. is one of Canada’s leading tobacco companies and employs nearly 800 people across the country with its headquarters in Toronto and a factory in Québec City.