Cigarette packages to carry advice on how to quit smoking
OTTAWA (CP) - People seeking advice on how to quit smoking will get it with every pack of smokes, once new federal regulations on tobacco packaging come into effect.
"Psyche yourself up," urges one message to be printed on leaflets and slid inside each pack. "If you want others to help you, tell them your quit date."
The how-to-quit tips would be required under the same rules, announced last month by Ottawa, calling for tobacco products to display photos of lung tumours and diseased brains.
Among the proposed tips:
- "Practice makes perfect. Most people don't manage to stay off tobacco the first time they try to quit smoking. You may have to try several times before you succeed."
- "Take it one day at a time. Wake up and say to yourself: 'I choose not to smoke Sunday.' Keep yourself active and busy."
Paul McDonald of the University of Waterloo, an expert on smoking cessation, said some smokers might be insulted because the messages make quitting sound easy.
It's estimated about 40 per cent of smokers try to quit in any given year, but only between two and four per cent succeed.
"Quitting can be a very difficult and arduous process."
Still, he thought the advice could be a useful backup to the gruesome graphics on the outside of the package.
"It's insufficient just to create anxiety among people and not provide any means for them to resolve that anxiety. They also have to have some sense of optimism that it's possible to eliminate or reduce those risks as well."
McDonald said governments should also provide toll-free lines or Web sites where smokers trying to quit could obtain more information.
Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society welcomed the proposed tips.
"It's not going to eliminate smoking but it's going to help a segment, and every one per cent reduction that we have represents a lot of lives."
Marie-Josee Lapointe of the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council reiterated the industry's overall opposition to the new regulations.
She said the new packages would probably have to be printed in the United States because Canadian printers don't have the technology to produce them.