Canada orders tougher cigarette warnings

Canada's tobacco manufacturers and importers on Tuesday were given until March 2012 to adopt new austere warning labels on cigarette packages featuring a woman dying of lung cancer.

The graphic health warning will cover 75 percent of the front and back of , up from 50 percent, and for the first time will include stories of people affected by tobacco use.

Two of the messages will feature images of anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox taken while she was dying of cancer. She died at age 42 in 2003.

"The new Tobacco Act regulations will put new, updated health warnings and information into the hands of millions of smokers," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

"I applaud the courage and commitment of those who are sharing their experience with through these messages," she said, adding Tarbox's "unforgettable image has become a symbol of the hazards of smoking."

Smoking is blamed for the deaths of 37,000 Canadians annually, including 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 85 percent of lung cancer deaths, according to the government.

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