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Warnings Get in Smokers’ Faces

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced on Dec. 30, 2010 that Health Canada will implement new warnings on cigarette packages to more accurately portray the risks of tobacco.

The warnings will cover 75 per cent of the packaging and will contain graphics, testimonials as well as a toll-free helpline for smokers wishing to quit.

Experts agree that the new warnings will likely encourage many smokers to give up tobacco which is welcome news for those with asthma. The clearer the air is from second and third-hand smoke, the easier asthmatics will be able to breathe.

David Hammond, Professor at the University of Waterloo and a former advisor on tobacco warnings to the World Health Organization, said that “the larger the warnings, the less opportunity for tobacco manufacturers to use creative design to detract from the warnings and to increase the appeal of their products to young people.”

One of the new labels will feature an image of former Canadian model Barb Tarbox on her deathbed. Next to it are the words, “This is what dying from lung cancer looks like.” Tarbox was an anti-smoking activist until she died in 2003 from lung cancer. She was 42.

Garfield Mahood, Executive Director of the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association said that if the warnings continue in the same direction, they may help to “prevent tens of thousands of tobacco deaths.”

Read more here.

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