OTTAWA — Canada will become the first country globally to print health warnings on individual cigarettes, Health Canada announced Wednesday.
The announcement by Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett comes on World No Tobacco Day, created in 1987 by the World Health Organization to “draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.”
Officials say tobacco use kills 48,000 Canadians each year.
“This bold step will make health warning messages 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,” said Bennett.
Canada first introduced warnings on cigarette packages in 2000 to increase awareness of the health hazards and health effects associated with tobacco use.
The feds say the change is part of the government’s continued efforts to help adult smokers quit, protect youth and non-smokers, and to further reduce the appeal of tobacco.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the health and safety of all Canadians is at the forefront of the decision.
“These new measures will help make sure that everyone across the country can receive credible information on the risks of tobacco use so they can make healthier choices for their wellbeing,” he said.
The new regulations are expected to come into effect on Aug. 1 and will be implemented in phases, starting with King-size cigarettes.
All tobacco products will feature the new warnings by the end of April 2025.