Health Canada has announced that Canada would soon start printing warning labels directly on cigarettes in an unprecedented development.
According to the agency, starting from August 1, the new packaging will feature a warning on each cigarette with phrases like: “Cigarettes cause cancer” and “Poison in every puff”.
It is part of an effort to reduce tobacco consumption in Canada to below 5% by 2035.
While making the announcement, Health Canada said the new regulations “will make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings” on tobacco products.
Health Canada expects that by April 2025, retailers in Canada will only shelf tobacco products that feature the new warning labels directly on the cigarettes.
The agency said products that will have labels on tipping paper include individual cigarettes, little cigars, tubes and other tobacco products.
The move came after a 75-day public consultation period that was launched last year.
As warning labels are already printed on cigarette package covers, Health Canada revealed it planned to expand on those by printing extra warning labels inside the packages themselves, and introducing a new external warning message.
While talking about the development, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Carolyn Bennett, said tobacco use kills around 48,000 Canadians each year.
She said: “We are taking action by being the first country in the world to label individual cigarettes with health warning messages.”
The move was commended by the Canadian Cancer Society, Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Lung Association, who revealed they hope the measures will discourage people, especially youth, from taking up smoking.
According to a national 2021 Tobacco and Nicotine survey, the rate of smokers aged 15 years or older is around 10% in Canada while vaping rates are higher at around 17%.
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