Canada freezes big anti-tobacco push, critics fume
The official opposition Liberal Party said statistics showed that since the Conservatives took office in 2006, the rate at which Canadians have quit smoking has declined.
"This government is listening to the business lobby, the tobacco lobby," said legislator Ujjal Dosanjh, who was federal minister of health when the consultations were launched.
"The illegal tobacco traffic ... is important. But you can't take your eyes off this particular problem," he told Reuters, saying the government could easily fight tobacco smuggling while ensuring the warning labels were more graphic.
Meghan Leslie of the left-leaning New Democrats said the decision to freeze the anti-smoking campaign and the focus on contraband cigarettes "say to me that this is not about health ... this is about industry, at the expense of people's health, perhaps at the expense of people's lives".
"I would have expected that large warnings would be announced by now ... the government hasn't really given a clear reason why and I can't conceive of a good reason why," said Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society.