I received the reply below from the Director General of the Tobacco Control Directorate. I thought you would like to know that the Health Warning regarding colorectal cancer and smoking will not be placed on cigarette packaging.
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Dear Ann Ivol,
Thank you for your letter of July 23rd 2018, addressed to the Honorable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, concerning the draft Health Warnings (HW) for cigarettes. I have been asked to respond on the Minister’s behalf.
We would like to assure you that Health Canada will not be using the draft Health Warning that the Ostomy Canada Society has concerns about. Health Canada is currently developing new Health Warnings, Health Information Messages and Toxic Statements that are required on tobacco packaging. Graphic warnings have been proven through research to be the most effective way to inform tobacco users and non-users about the harms of tobacco use. This includes portraying the lasting health effects of the diseases caused by tobacco use. As part of this process, we tested 39 draft Health Warnings through Public Opinion Research (POR) using focus groups. The report that was posted is a mandatory government requirement for the POR process. Unfortunately, some of the reporting gave the impression that these labels were final, which was not the case.
POR is one way in which we ensure that we are developing labels to be as effective as possible. One of our other key criteria we follow is to avoid stigmatizing Canadians who have suffered from tobacco-related illnesses or from other diseases. We are aware that the draft Health Warning number 10 – Cigarettes cause colorectal cancer could stigmatize those who rely on ostomy bags for a range of health reasons. As a result, we are discarding this Health Warning and it will not appear anywhere other than in the POR report.
We thank you again for taking the time to write to us and for providing information on ostomies. We take all feedback into consideration and appreciate your concerns.
James Van Loon, Director General
Tobacco Control Directorate
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch