In the last few years, neutral packaging has proven itself time and time again, in many countries. The concept is to eliminate all visual marketing on cigarette packaging, and it is highly effective. This is why Canada has now taken up the call and will be pushing this policy for 2020.
Santé Canada has just announced new regulations on tobacco products. The key measure is establishing neutral packaging, with no visual marketing whatsoever. This is a highly regulated policy, with all cigarette packages in a specific shade of matte brown. This colour was determined to be the least attractive possible, aiming to reduce tobacco consumption in younger populations.
Brand names will be indicated in grey, and with standardized font and size. Logos will be prohibited, while health risk information will be mandatory. The objective of the law is to make cigarettes as unattractive as possible, in particular for minors.
Canadian smoking rates judged to be a cause for concern
Tobacco is a serious health concern in Canada, with 4 million smokers (17 % of the population). Tobacco-related diseases are the first cause of premature death in the country. With neutral packaging, the government hopes the smoking rate will fall as low as 5 % by 2035.
Associations are obviously very much on board with this measure. The Canadian Cancer Association, along with Coeur + AVC, recognize that neutral packaging can be very effective.
Imperial Tobacco, however, one of the leading cigarette manufacturers in Canada, remain sceptical. The WHO publicly stated that neutral packaging is a good policy to fight tobacco. Neutral packaging will become mandatory for manufacturers by November 9th, 2019. Sellers, however, will have some time to liquidate stocks before February 7th, 2020.