Canada will soon be the first nation in the world to print warning labels directly onto cigarettes, according to the country's health agency.
On the new cigarette packaging, phrases such as "Cigarettes cause cancer" and "Poison in every puff" will appear. The regulation will go into effect on August 1, according to Health Canada.
It is part of an effort to reduce Canadian tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035. Health Canada stated in a press release on Wednesday that the new regulations "will make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings" on tobacco products.
The health agency anticipates that by April 2025, only tobacco products bearing the new warning labels directly on the cigarettes will be sold in Canada. Individual cigarettes, little cigars, tubes, and other tobacco products will have labels printed on tipping paper, according to Health Canada.
The move follows a 75-day period of public consultation that began last year. Warning markings are already printed on the packaging of cigarettes. Health Canada stated that it intends to expand these by printing additional warning labels within the containers and introducing new external warning messages.
Carolyn Bennett, Canada's minister of mental health and addictions, stated in a statement that approximately 48,000 Canadians per year are killed by tobacco use.
Ms. Bennett mentioned that they are taking action by becoming the First Nation in the world to label individual cigarettes that will come with health warnings. She also labeled the change as courageous. The Canadian Cancer Society, Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Canadian Lung Association applauded the decision, expressing their hope that the measures will discourage people, particularly youth, from smoking.
Smoking cigarettes is widely recognized as a risk factor for lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Although Canada has required the printing of warning labels on cigarette packets since 1989, it trailed behind the United Kingdom, which began publishing warnings in 1971. The United Kingdom began publishing warnings.
The United States of America was the first nation in the world to mandate the inclusion of explicit health warnings on the packaging of cigarettes when, in 1965, it passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. Over the years, labels in all three nations have changed, including the addition of sometimes graphic images to the text to illustrate the negative health effects of smoking.
Since the United States implemented warning labels, the smoking rate has decreased significantly. Some studies have found, however, that labels do not deter individuals with a severe nicotine addiction.
In the middle of the 1960s, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 42 percent of adults in the United States were using tobacco products. This percentage reached a new all-time low of 11% in the year 2021. On the other hand, the use of electronic cigarettes looked to have increased.
According to the results of a national poll on tobacco and nicotine conducted in 2021, the percentage of Canadians aged 15 or older who smoke is approximately 10%. According to the findings of the poll, the vaping rate is approximately 17%, which is greater than in the US.