Canada will soon become the first country in the world where warning labels must appear on individual cigarettes.
The move was first announced last year by Health Canada and is aimed at helping people quit the habit. The regulations take effect Aug. 1 and will be phased in. King-size cigarettes will be the first to feature the warnings and will be sold in stores by the end of July 2024, followed by regular-size cigarettes, and little cigars with tipping 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 announced 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 use below 5% by 2035. New regulations also strengthen health-related graphic images displayed on packages of tobacco.
Bennett's statement said tobacco use kills 48,000 Canadians every year.
Doug Roth, chief executive of the Heart & Stroke charity, said the bold measure will ensure that dangers to lung health cannot be missed.