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Tobacco Product Issues

Despite efforts to persuade people never to start or to quit once they do, millions of adults will continue to smoke. For these consumers, smoke-free reduced-risk products may offer a promising opportunity to reduce the harm associated with tobacco use, particularly cigarette smoking.

A strong public health consensus has formed that not all tobacco products present the same risk. Public health authorities agree that there is a broad continuum of risk among tobacco products, with cigarettes at the highest end of that spectrum. This continuum recognizes that most of the harm caused by tobacco results from the burning of tobacco.

Tobacco Harm Reduction

While there may be differences in risk profiles between specific smoke-free products, it will take years of epidemiology to quantify those differences. The body of evidence, does however, indicate a profound risk differential between combustible and smoke-free product categories as a whole. Data suggest that a two dimensional "Risk Cliff" model is a useful description of the relative risk between combusted and smoke-free products. With millions of adult smokers seeking less harmful alternatives to cigarettes, we must provide adult smokers with information that can facilitate transition to a variety of smoke-free products.

NSTC has urged Health Canada to recognize the continuum of risk for tobacco products and to consider a tobacco control approach that complements effective prevention and cessation strategies with a focus on transitioning adult smokers to less hazardous products.

For more information on tobacco harm reduction, please refer to NSTC's submission on the government of Canada's Consultation on the Future of Tobacco Control in Canada.

NSTC supports fair and appropriate taxation of tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco is heavily taxed at both the federal and provincial levels. In many jurisdictions, smokeless tobacco products are disproportionately taxed compared to cigarettes and other tobacco products that are smoked.

Federal and provincial governments should modernize tobacco tax categories to better reflect the variety of tobacco products on the market today. Smokeless tobacco should not be taxed the same as cigarette tobacco for rolling your own cigarettes. By establishing distinct categories for loose tobacco products – one for smoked tobacco and one for tobacco that is not smoked – tax policy would more accurately reflect the current tobacco product marketplace. Click here to read more about NSTC's positions on the taxation of smokeless tobacco products.

In April 2019, the Canadian government published Tobacco Product Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance). In compliance with these regulations, all NSTC smokeless tobacco products manufactured for sale in Canada will be in plain packaging by November 9, 2019. You may continue to see products in branded packaging for sale at retail until February 7, 2020.

Product Name Changes

To comply with the Canadian government’s plain packaging requirements for tobacco products, some of NSTC’s product names will be changing. The product inside the packaging is not changing.

  • Copenhagen Long Cut Southern Blend -> Copenhagen Southern Blend
  • Copenhagen Long Cut Straight -> Copenhagen Straight
  • Skoal Long Cut Dark -> Skoal Dark
  • Skoal Long Cut Straight -> Skoal Straight
  • Skoal Long Cut Crisp Blend -> Skoal Crisp Blend

The following product names are not changing:

  • Copenhagen Snuff
  • Copenhagen Long Cut
  • Copenhagen Pouches
  • Skoal Pouches Straight

Click here to learn more about NSTC's position on the government's plain and standardized packaging proposal.

Children should not use any tobacco products, and we take our support of programs that help to reduce underage use of tobacco products very seriously.

In Canada, tobacco products are subject to significant restrictions that help to limit underage access. NSTC recommends that all provinces undertake the following legislative and policy actions:

  • Require a mandatory I.D. check for retail purchases of tobacco products
  • Establish provincial penalties for retailers or third parties selling or providing tobacco products to a minor
  • Implement and enforce bans on underage possession of tobacco products as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy
  • Support provincial implementation of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada’s responsible retailer program ID Please. The infrastructure of this web-based training module is readily available for widespread access by retailers, and government support of this program would further strengthen underage access prevention.
Contact Your Elected Official

To speak out and make a difference on tobacco issues that matter to you, you may wish to contact your federal or provincial elected official.

To find your federal Member of Parliament, please visit To find your provincial or territorial representative, click on your province or territory below.

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