Each Cigarette May Warn: 'Poison in Every Puff'

Canada considers adding a label that's hard to miss
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2022 1:05 PM CDT
Each Cigarette May Warn: 'Poison in Every Puff'
Stock photo   (Getty Images/CristiNistor)

Canada is on its way to putting a health warning on every cigarette sold in the country, in what would be a global first. "It's a warning that you simply cannot ignore," Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society said. "It's going to reach every smoker, with every puff." A public comment period began Saturday, the Guardian reports, and the government plans to add the requirement in the second half of next year. "We need to address the concern that these messages may have lost their novelty, and to an extent we worry that they may have lost their impact as well," said Carolyn Bennett, minister of mental health and addictions.

Smokers, especially young ones, often don't have to look at the warnings on cigarette packs because they're given one cigarette at a time in social situations, per the BBC. Canada added photo warnings to packages in 2001, but Bennett said they make less of a difference than the government had hoped. Statistics Canada reported last month that 10% of Canadians say they smoke regularly, a share the government wants to cut in half by 2035. That includes about 11% of people 20 and older who say they smoke; the share is 4% for those ages 15 to 19. Overall, smoking fell 3% in Canada between 2015 and 2019.

"This is going to set a world precedent," said Cunningham, who hopes the policy spreads to other nations. Some researchers were skeptical that the warning-on-every-smoke policy will make much difference, per the New York Times. Curbing availability and raising taxes on cigarettes does work, they say. A spokesman said the Canadian subsidiary of Philip Morris supports the warnings. The government hasn't decided on wording yet, but the frontrunner is "Poison in every puff." (More anti-smoking stories.)

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