Canada has introduced a regulation that will require health warnings to be printed on individual cigarettes, making it the first country to implement such an initiative. The goal is to reduce tobacco usage to less than 5% by 2035.
Health warnings such as “Tobacco smoke harms children,” “Cigarettes cause leukaemia,” and “Poison in every puff” will soon be seen on every cigarette sold in Canada.
Canadian health officials stated that the new Tobacco Products Appearance, Packaging, and Labelling Regulations are part of the government’s ongoing efforts to help smokers quit, protect youth and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction, and further reduce the appeal of tobacco.
These warnings will be printed on the tipping paper, which is the outermost paper of the filter section, of individual cigarettes, little cigars, tubes, and other tobacco products. The warnings will be written in English and French.
Officials believe that this initiative will make it virtually impossible for smokers to avoid health warnings.
The new regulations will be implemented in phases, starting from August 1. Retailers selling tobacco products will need to feature the new warnings by the end of April 2024. King-size cigarettes will first feature the individual warnings by the end of July 2024, followed by regular-sized cigarettes and other products by the end of April 2025.
Health organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Lung Association, and Heart & Stroke Foundation, welcomed the move. They believe that having warnings on every cigarette and during every smoke break will have a significant impact.
In an open letter, these organizations had previously called on Canada’s premiers to prioritize initiatives to reduce smoking during settlement negotiations with major tobacco companies. The introduction of health warnings on individual cigarettes aligns with their goals.