The new rules are part of a larger strategy aimed at driving the rate of tobacco use among Canadians down to five per cent by 2035. The regulations released on 1 May also standardize the size and appearance of cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products inside the packages, the report said.
According to the report, Health Canada chose the same dark brown for the packages as Australia did for its tobacco products a few years ago, which was identified by market researchers as the ugliest colour in the world. Several European countries have used the colour as well. "Packages with darker colours were perceived to be more 'harmful to health' and their products 'harder to quit,' in contrast to packages with lighter colours," the department said in a summary of the plans.
Officials said plain packaging will increase the impact of graphic health warnings about the dangers of smoking and prevents them from getting lost in the midst of colourful designs and branding. The government wants to prevent cigarette companies from using their packs as tiny ads for their products, the report said.
According to Health Canada, more than four million Canadians still use tobacco — about 17 per cent of the population aged 12 and over.