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Canada plans bigger anti-smoking warnings

  |   Dec. 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM
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OTTAWA, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Canada says it will increase the size of anti-smoking warnings on cigarette packages to cover three-quarters of the surface of the packs.

The federal government says the new health warnings will feature images of an iconic Canadian cancer victim covering 75 percent of the packages of cigarettes and little cigars, Postmedia News reported Wednesday.

The significant increase in the size of the warning comes after the House of Commons health committee threw its weight behind a long-standing movement to enlarge the mandatory ads from the current level of half the packs' surface area.

Some of the warnings will feature pictures of former Canadian model Barb Tarbox, who died in 2003 of lung cancer. Tarbox became famous before her death for her high-profile campaign to persuade young people to not smoke.

A toll-free number for a national helpline for smokers and a Web site for more information will be an addition to the new warnings.

Anti-smoking activists have long lobbied for larger warnings.

"Size is extremely important to the effectiveness" of the warnings, Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society said. "The larger the size, the greater the impact."

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