Health Canada sets plain-packaging rules for tobacco, to take effect in November

Health Canada says cigarette packs will have to be plain drab brown with standardized layouts and lettering, starting in November.

The government says plain packages will increase the impact of graphic health warnings about the dangers of smoking, keeping them from getting lost amid colourful designs and branding.

The regulations released today also standardize the size and appearance of cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products inside the packages.

Specific rules have been awaited since Parliament passed a law requiring them last fall, joining 13 other countries that have adopted similar measures.

The new rules are part of a larger strategy aimed at driving the rate of tobacco use among Canadians down to five per cent by 2035.

Federal statistics show that in 2017, 18 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 said they'd used tobacco in the previous month, an increase of 15 per cent from 2015.