Each cigarette sold in Canada effective Tuesday now comes with an individual health warning that “cigarettes cause impotence” and cancer, and that there is “poison in every puff.”
The labelling rule announced in May aims to further crack down on smoking and is a world first.
Canada’s then-addictions minister, Carolyn Bennett, had said the new warning labels would be “virtually unavoidable and, together with updated graphic images displayed on the package, will provide a real and startling reminder of the health consequences of smoking.”
The Canadian government noted that some young people, who are particularly susceptible to the risk of tobacco dependence, start smoking after being given a single cigarette rather than a pack labeled with health warnings.
In 2000, Canada became the first country to order graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes — including grisly pictorials of diseased hearts and lungs — to raise awareness of the health hazards associated with tobacco use.
Smoking has been trending down over the past two decades.
But, according to government data, tobacco use continues to kill 48,000 Canadians each year, and almost half of the country’s health care costs are linked to substance use.
Ottawa aims to further reduce the number of smokers in the country to five percent of the population, or about 2 million people, by 2035 — from about 13 percent currently.