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Should warning labels be required on products other than cigarettes?

Categories: Community, Health

Australia's new legislation will force tobacco companies to remove logos and advertising from cigarette packs, replacing them with graphic images. (Minister for Health and Ageing/Reuters) 

The Canadian Cancer Society says that Canada's cigarette package warnings, now covering 75 per cent of the package, rank fourth in the world behind Australia and other countries that prohibit company colours and logos. 

In the comments of our story and previous stories on cigarette labels, some members of the CBC Community suggested other products that should have warning labels. 

  • "When are we going to see warnings on junk food? We are winning the battle with tobacco use but we are losing the battle with obesity," said Mark 138.

  • "Should we do the same with soft drinks and candy bars?" asked KenKesey.

In fact, the Ontario Medical Association launched a campaign do to just that last month. Their mock-up of junk food warning labels include a foot with diabetic ulcer on a can of pop, and a liver riddled with fatty liver disease on a pizza box.

  • "Good. Now do the same for alcohol. It kills more people than cigarettes," said Kefalono. 

Warning labels on alcohol are required in more than two dozen countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France and Japan. The labels are small compared to those on cigarette packages and warn against drinking during pregnancy and before driving. 

 This warning label appears on alcoholic beverages sold in Canada's North. (CBC)In Canada, Yukon and the Northwest Territories require such labels on alcohol, and they appear in Nunavut, as well. Provincial politicians have recently backed similar labels in Manitoba and Alberta. 

In 2005, Ontario Liberal MP Paul Szabo introduced a private member's bill to require warning labels on alcohol across Canada. Although he had the support of the health minister at the time, the bill died when Paul Martin's government fell on a motion of no confidence. 

And last year, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that energy drinks would be required to carry warnings saying they were not recommended for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and that the drinks should not be mixed with alcohol. 

Should products other than cigarettes carry health warning labels? Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

Tags: Canada, food & drink, Health, Politics

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