SIZE Matters - Heart and Stroke Foundation applauds federal government on renewal of tobacco package health warnings

OTTAWA, December 30, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada today hailed the federal government's decision to renew tobacco package warnings.

The new warnings will contain many important features that are critical to an effective warning system, including larger warnings, which will increase in size from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of the principal display areas of the tobacco package.

"With warning labels, size matters," says Irfhan Rawji, chair of the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "Giving Canadians the straight-up goods on the dangers of tobacco industry products in a more prominent and visible way is a significant step in the ongoing battle to reduce tobacco consumption."

Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

"Research indicates that larger and more visible warnings are more likely to effectively support efforts against smoking," says Rawji. "This will help encourage Canadians to quit smoking as we enter the New Year."

The warnings will also include strong, emotionally impactful messages, testimonials by real victims of tobacco industry products and a toll-free national smoking cessation telephone number.

"New package warnings, in addition to the government's adoption of legislation in 2009 to ban flavoured tobacco products and its associated marketing, will help support efforts to reduce tobacco consumption in Canada," says Rawji. "Becoming smoke-free not only improves the length and quality of your life, but also the lives of those around you."

Seventeen per cent of Canadians 15 years and older smoke. To continue reducing this rate, the next critical step will be for Canada to adopt plain and standardized tobacco packaging.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a member of the Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco (CCAT). CCAT member organizations have been actively involved in the renewal of Canada's tobacco package warnings.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. (