Canada is set to become the first country to introduce a federal regulation mandating health warnings to be printed directly on individual cigarettes, as part of an initiative to support smoking cessation among adults and diminish the appeal of tobacco.
The CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Doug Roth, emphasized the significance of these measures in combatting the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. Roth stated that the new regulations will safeguard young individuals and assist current smokers in their efforts to quit.
The health warnings will be prominently displayed on tipping paper, cigarette tubes, and other tobacco products, making it nearly impossible to ignore or avoid. Initially, the changes will be implemented on king-size cigarettes starting from August 1 of this year, and the transition will occur in phases until the following year.
The Canadian government’s aim is to protect young people and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction. By doing so, they aspire to achieve their target of reducing tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035.
Furthermore, by April 2024, tobacco packaging will feature new health-related messages, with plans for periodic rotation of these messages. The intent is to continuously reinforce the health consequences associated with smoking.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, tobacco use leads to the deaths of 46,000 individuals in Canada each year. Additionally, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health Carolyn Bennett announced that graphic images will be incorporated into the packaging, serving as a powerful reminder of the detrimental health effects of smoking.
Bennett reaffirmed the commitment to employ every available means to assist more Canadians, especially young people, in leading healthier, tobacco-free lives.