TORONTO (AP) — Canada will soon become the first country in the world to require warning labels to appear on individual cigarettes.
The decision was first announced last year by Health Canada and is intended to help people quit smoking. The regulations will come into force on August 1 and will be phased in gradually. King-size cigarettes will be the first to carry the warnings and will be sold in stores by the end of July 2024, followed by full-size cigarettes and little cigars with tip. paper and tubes by the end of April 2025.
“This bold step will make health warning messages virtually unavoidable,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said on Wednesday.
The warnings – in English and French – include “poison in every puff”, “tobacco smoke harms children” and “cigarettes cause impotence”.
Health Canada said the strategy aims to reduce tobacco consumption to less than 5% by 2035. New regulations also strengthen health-related graphic images displayed on tobacco packages.
Bennett’s statement indicates that tobacco use kills 48,000 Canadians every year.
Doug Roth, chief executive of the Heart & Stroke charity, said the bold step will ensure the dangers to lung health cannot be missed.
The Canadian Cancer Society said the measure will reduce smoking and the appeal of cigarettes, thereby preventing cancer and other diseases.
Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said health messages will be delivered with every puff and every cigarette break. Canada, he added, will have the best smoking warning system in the world.
Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship has been banned in Canada and health warnings on cigarette packages have been around since 1972.
In 2001, Canada became the first country to require tobacco companies to include picture warnings on the outside of cigarette packages and to include inserts with health messages.