Back-Flip over Cigarette Labels
The Canadian government is becoming used to carrying out spectacular back-flips. After startling everyone by suddenly reversing the decision to introduce graphic new warning labels on Canada drug cigarette packets earlier this year, following years of expensive research, the government now appears to have reversed its initial reversal after being accused of colluding with big Canadian drug tobacco companies.
Federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq made the announcement on Tuesday, following a grueling day at the House of Commons, where a health committee is investigating why the government suddenly decided to back down on the new graphic Canada drug cigarette labels, which had been years in the planning. The government has been accused of backing down to pressure from big Canadian drug cigarette companies, but Aglukkaq insists a new campaign is on the way.
However, doubts are already being raised on whether the new warning labels will be as effective as those that were originally planned, with Tory MPs voting down a motion by Liberal health critic Ujjal Dosanjh to insist that the new warning labels will cover seventy five percent of the cigarette packet, as was originally planned. The voting down of the motion has left critics fearing that the new warnings will be a decidedly watered down version of what was initially intended. “I think the size is in peril,” says Cynthia Callard, an anti-smoking advocate with Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada. Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, also points out that “Size is extremely important to the effectiveness (of the warnings). The larger the size, the greater the impact. Health Canada has done some excellent research – it’s a matter of public record”.