In a world’s first, Canada will start printing warnings directly on individual cigarettes. Caanda wants to discourage people who are considering smoking, and encourage those who already smoke to quit. The warnings, which will be printed in English and French, will include phrases such as “poison in every puff” and “cigarettes cause cancer.”
Up to half of tobacco users die. Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year, including 1.3 Million non-smokers that are exposed to secondhand smoke. People still smoke. Around 1.3 billion people smoke tobacco around the globe, mostly in countries with low or middle income.
Several countries have developed strategies to reduce smoking.
This new measure is part a set of new tobacco regulations that Canada has adopted. In 2000, Canada was the first country to require pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging. This increased awareness about the dangers of smoking. Labels are used today that have strong images and messages that are both credible and informative. Many people smoke.
Canada takes on tobacco
“Tobacco use continues to kill 48,000 Canadians each year. We are taking action by being the first country in the world to label individual cigarettes with health warning messages,” Carolyn Bennet, Canadian Associate Minister of Health, said in a news release. “This bold step will make health warning messages virtually unavoidable.”
About 13% of Canada’s population uses tobacco. More than just a major health burden, this is also a financial burden, costing the country’s healthcare system about $6 billion per year, the government said. Smoking rates have been declining steadily thanks to increased public awareness, regulations and taxes on tobacco. Canada still has a long way to go to achieve its goal of less than 5% tobacco consumption by 2035.
Canada has updated its packaging policies after several public consultations. New warnings for cigarettes will be part of the new legislation. Health warnings will now cover 75% of packaging, and will rotate periodically. Packaging will soon include information on toxicity.
The use of images and text to update warnings is a very effective method of raising awareness among smokers about the health effects.
The government said these new regulations are in line with the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – the world’s first global public health treaty. The report outlines the steps governments should take to combat tobacco use. These include adopting price and tax measures, banning tobacco advertisements, and adding health warnings to packages.
Canada’s Hearth and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Lung Association, and the Canadian Cancer Society have all celebrated the updated policies, claiming they will significantly help to reduce the appeals of cigarettes for youth.
“The requirement for a health warning directly on every cigarette is a world precedent setting measure that will reach every person who smokes with every puff,” Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society said in a news release. “This will be accompanied by enhanced measures on the package.”