Tobacco companies in Canada use a credit card-sized package that contains all the usual tobacco items. A standard cigarette pack contains 120 or more pieces of paper with sizes ranging from candy-like to chewy. Although the package is relatively sparse, it does have something special — a bottle of water.
The “decal”, as it’s called, is an unusual aspect of Canada’s tobacco industry — just like the plain packaging that British parliament recently rejected. Tobacco companies still have the right to put branding on their packaging but they can also provide free samples. The water bottles are also somewhat cheap.
And British lawmakers aren’t the only ones to have harsh words for the idea. The packaging “is such a shameless marketing technique,” Dr. Linda E. Birnbaum, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco told The Guardian.
Back in 2012, Canadians made it clear that they hated the packaging with over 3,000 comments on the website to their government office from the public. The Parliament of Canada approved a change to their cigarette packaging law in 2014 to avoid further public backlash and hopefully avoid lawsuits from tobacco companies. Since that time, Canadian legislators have banned cigarette packaging with non-vintage logos and is about to come into force a massive change in the way tobacco packages look: a text free, plain gray bag.
Dr. Birnbaum called the plan “frankly one of the most graphic images ever published in a product.”
The plan is currently under discussion in Canada’s Senate, and all signs point to a motion to approve with the help of public comments.