According to the country’s health office, Canada will soon put warning labels directly on cigarettes, a first for the globe.
The new packaging will have warnings like “Poison in every puff” and “Cigarettes cause cancer” printed on each cigarette.
Health Canada announced that the policy will go into effect on August 1.
By 2035, the goal is to get Canada’s tobacco use down to less than 5%.
Health Canada stated that the new rules “will make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings” on tobacco products in a release on Wednesday.
The health organization projects that by April 2025, Canadian merchants will exclusively stock tobacco products with the new warning labels printed right on the smokes.
BBC News posted an official tweet:
Every Canadian cigarette will soon carry a health warning https://t.co/HV0q4UfBJn
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 31, 2023
Individual cigarettes, small cigars, tubes, and other tobacco goods will all have labels on tipping paper, according to Health Canada.
Following a 75-day public consultation period that began last year, the action was taken.
The covers of cigarettes already have warning labels put on them. Health Canada stated that it intends to build upon those by adding fresh external warning messages and putting extra warning labels within the packaging themselves.
Tobacco use kills over 48,000 Canadians annually, according to a statement from Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions.
Ms. Bennett described the measure as a “bold step,” adding that by becoming the first nation in the world to mark individual cigarettes with health warning messages, “we are taking action.”
The Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Canadian Lung Association commended the action and expressed the hope that it will discourage individuals from starting to smoke, especially young people.
Smoking cigarettes is generally recognized as a risk factor for heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
Although it lagged behind the UK, which began printing warnings on cigarette packaging in 1971, Canada has required the printing of warning labels since 1989.
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With the passage of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act in 1965, the United States became the first country in the world to mandate health warnings on cigarette packaging.
Over the years, labels in all three countries have changed, most notably to illustrate the negative effects of smoking by showing sometimes graphic images in addition to text.
The smoking rate has substantially fallen ever since warning labels were implemented in the US. Labels, however, do not seem to be a deterrent for those with a severe nicotine habit, according to several studies.
In the middle of the 1960s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 42% of US adults smoked. That percentage fell to an all-time low of 11% in 2021. The usage of electronic cigarettes, however, seemed to be increasing.
A national 2021 Tobacco and Nicotine survey found that 10% or less of Canadians aged 15 or older smoke. The poll found that vaping rates were higher, at about 17% than in the US.
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