In Canada, a Warning on Every Single Cigarette

'Bold step' will see warnings on individual tobacco products beginning next year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2023 10:20 AM CDT
Canada Is Putting Warnings on Every Cigarette
This image provided by Health Canada shows the final wording of six separate warnings that will be printed directly on individual cigarettes as Canada becomes the first in the world to take that step aimed at helping people quit the habit.   (Health Canada/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canada has printed warnings on cigarette packaging since 1989. Now, in a world first, the country will go a step further and put warnings on every individual cigarette sold. Phrases like "Cigarettes cause impotence" and "Poison in every puff" will appear on the tips of individual cigarettes, mini cigars, and other tobacco products under a regulation to take effect Aug. 1, Health Canada announced Wednesday. Officials said the warnings would begin appearing on individual products by the end of July 2024 through April 2025, per the Toronto Star. It's part of an effort to reduce tobacco use to 5% of the population by 2035, down from about 10% currently, per the BBC.

"This bold step will make health warning messages virtually unavoidable," says Carolyn Bennett, minister of mental health and addictions and associate minister of health, per ABC News. Because the warnings appear on the tops of cigarettes, they will remain visible in ashtrays once they have been smoked, the Star points out. "Tobacco use continues to be one of Canada's most significant public health problems, and is the country's leading preventable cause of disease and premature death," Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement, per the Star. Bennett said tobacco use kills 48,000 Canadians per year.

The Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Lung Association, and Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation all applauded the move, saying they hoped it would prevent new tobacco users, per the BBC. It's "a world precedent-setting measure that will reach every person who smokes with every puff," said Rob Cunningham of the CCS. Health Canada said it also plans to introduce warnings on the inside of tobacco packaging—which Cunningham described as "internationally unique," per the Star—in addition to new warnings on the outside of packaging. "We will continue to do whatever it takes to help more people in Canada stop smoking and help young people to live healthy, tobacco-free lives," Bennett said. (Read more cigarettes stories.)

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