Ottawa [Canada]: ‘Tobacco smoke harms children.’ ‘Cigarettes are a cause of leukaemia.’ ‘Poison is in every puff.’
These are some of the messages that will soon appear on cigarettes in Canada, in both English and French. Canada on Wednesday announced that health warnings will be required to be printed directly on each individual cigarette, making it the first country in the world to do so, reported CNN. ‘The new Tobacco Products Appearance, Packaging and Labelling Regulations will be part of the Government of Canada’s continued efforts to help adults who smoke to quit, to protect youth and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction, and to further reduce the appeal of tobacco,’ Canadian health officials said in a news release.
According to health officials, the labels on individual cigarettes will make it ‘virtually impossible’ for smokers to escape warnings.
The new rule is a ‘world precedent-setting measure that will reach every person who smokes with every puff,’ according to Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, reported CNN.
The regulation is part of the country’s goal of reducing tobacco consumption to less than 5 per cent nationwide by 2035.
According to health officials, it would be supplemented by additional steps aimed at reducing the number of smokers in the country, such as boosting health messaging on tobacco product packages, according to CNN.
Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement, ‘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,’ adding, ‘Our government is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal to help protect the health of Canadians, especially young people.’
The new rules take effect on August 1, but will be phased in: retailers selling tobacco product packages must include the new warnings by the end of April 2024; king-size cigarettes must include the individual warnings by the end of July 2024, followed by regular-sized cigarettes and other products by the end of April 2025, according to the news release, reported CNN.