In a world first, Canada is set to become the first country to require health warnings on individual cigarettes, making the warnings so in your face they will be hard to ignore.
Early this week on August 1, 2023, these regulations came into force, in a phased approach that will see most of the measures be in action by the end of the year. The first target is king-sized cigarettes, followed by regular-sized cigarettes, little cigars with tipping papers, and tubes.
Very aptly, this announcement was originally made in May on World No Tobacco Day. The aim is that this new labeling system will deter younger people from starting smoking, help adults who smoke quit, reduce the appeal of tobacco, and protect people from nicotine addiction.
Currently, tobacco kills 48,000 Canadians per year. As smoking is linked to 40 diseases and conditions, with many health effects being reversible or reduced after someone quits tobacco use. So, it is a very big health concern for all of Canada.
“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 in Canada. Our government is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal to help protect the health of Canadians, especially young people.” The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, said in a statement.
The plan is to have the tipping paper of the individual cigarettes, tubes, little cigars, and other tobacco products have labels in English and French, including warnings such as "Cigarettes cause cancer" and "Poison in every puff". This means that the message will quite literally be in your face and make it impossible to avoid the health warnings altogether. All of this helps support Canada’s goal to reduce tobacco use to less than 5 percent by 2035.
“This bold step will make health warning messages virtually unavoidable, and together with updated graphic images displayed on the package, will provide a real and startling reminder of the health consequences of smoking. 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,” said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, in a statement.
This is all part of the plan to enhance public awareness about tobacco use hazards, which are all part of the Tobacco and Vaping Act (TVPA), which is there to regulate the manufacturing, labeling, promotion, and selling of tobacco products sold in Canada.
The hope is that this new initiative will help those in Canada to reduce their nicotine intake. If it does, maybe this is something that we see all over the world.