Canada opts for drooping cigarette to stop smokers
OTTAWA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - If Canadians have still not got the message about the dangers of smoking, then a depiction of a drooping, impotent cigarette or grotesque photos of diseased lungs on cigarette packs might do the trick.
Canadia Health Minister Allan Rock holds a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday, January 19, 2000, and displays a couple of health messages and graphics his department is proposing that cigarette manufacturers display on their packaging.Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock announced proposed new regulations on Wednesday requiring all new cigarette packages to have graphic representations of damage caused by tobacco -- ranging from sexual dysfunction to lung cancer and gum disease.
``Cigarettes may cause sexual impotence due to decreased blood flow to the penis. This can prevent you from having an erection,'' reads one blunt warning next to a photo of a limp cigarette.
Other labels, which would cover fully half of the front and back of the packs, show foul color photographs of a diseased mouth, lung tumors or a damaged heart, or a photo of a daughter imitating her glamorous but smoking mother.
The Canadian regulations, which Rock hopes to have in place by the end of the year, go further than requirements in most other countries.
U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Richard Lugar, Republican from Indiana, are preparing legislation which would require bold large warnings like ``Cigarettes are addictive'' but do not go as far as photos.
``Our current cigarette warning labels are an international embarrassment,'' Lautenberg said in a statement issued on Wednesday in Washington.
Cigarettes sold in Canada already carry warnings such as those proposed in the United States, but on a voluntary basis.
The new warnings would be mandatory in Canada and all would carry pictures, or in one case, a graph comparing death rates. Government research found warnings with pictures were 60 times as encouraging to stop or not start smoking as simple words.
Rock said tobacco use was the number one health issue in Canada. It kills 45,000 Canadians every year. Government takes in C$2.2 billion ($1.5 billion) in tobacco taxes each year but forks out C$3 billion in resulting health costs.
``Tobacco is the only product on the market that will result in a premature death for one out of every two users,'' Rock said.
In 1995, Canada's Supreme Court struck down a government ban on tobacco advertising and also said it was unconstitutional to require unattributed warnings. The new requirements attribute the messages to the government department Health Canada.
The new regulations will also require tobacco manufacturers and importers to report to the federal government on sales data, manufacturing and processing methodologies, ingredients, toxic constituents, toxic emissions, research studies and promotional activities.