In a previous blog (10 February, 2012), I bemoaned the fact that Canada had no requirements that cigarette packaging should carry a warning that smoking can cause blindness, while other countries, such as Australia, do have such requirements. I’m pleased to say that this is no longer the case. On March 21st 2012, Federal Health Minister Aglukkaq announced that a new series of health warnings would be required on Canadian cigarette and little cigar packages. Included in the messages that would be carried on the new packages is the following:
Warning: Risk of Blindness. Smoking may increase your risk of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause permanent vision loss. There is no effective treatment in most cases.
In addition to the warning on the package, the Health Canada website provides some additional information to support this statement. The date for implementation of the new packaging is June 19th, 2012. Retailers have until June 18th to sell their inventory of old packaging.
The new labeling is available at the following link: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/legislation/label-etiquette/cigarette-eng.php
Minister Aglukkaq is to be commended for these changes.