Cigarette packs get the ugly treatment this fall

No more logos, colours or graphics

Health Canada has set November 9 as the date cigarette packages will turn an ugly, plain, drab brown.

It’s considered by many to be the ugliest colour in the world.

The plain packaging will also feature larger and more graphic health warnings and will be of a single shape and design – no more soft packs or creative designs with bevelled edges and other distinctive features.

The new rules are part of a larger strategy to cut the rate of tobacco use among Canadians down to five percent by 2035. In 2017, 18 percent of Canadians over the age of 15 said they used tobacco in the previous month – a 15 percent increase from 2015.

The regulations, considered among the toughest in the world, will also:

  • Prohibited brand colours, graphics and logos on packages; brand names can still appear on packages, but in a standard way for all brands
  • Ban slim and superslim cigarettes, as well as stylish “purse packs” appealing to young women and girls
  • Ban cigarettes longer than 85 mm, meaning that “glamorous” 100 mm cigarettes will be banned
  • Prohibit branding and other promotions on the cigarette itself, and require cigarettes to have a flat end without holes or recesses

The Canadian Cancer Society has been advocating for this type of packaging since the 1990s.

“We strongly support the plain packaging regulations as they are essential to protect Canadian youth from tobacco companies. Tobacco is addictive and deadly and should not be sold in packages made to be more attractive. Tobacco packaging should not function as mini-billboards promoting tobacco use.”

Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society