Canada is poised to become the first country in the world to require that a warning be printed on every cigarette.
Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said the measure is meant to reach more people — including young people, who often share cigarettes and don’t encounter the packaging.
A 75-day consultation period is to begin Saturday.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada welcomed the new requirements and said that there is strong evidence to suggest that messages on tobacco products have had an impact on curbing consumption.
“Canada will now have the strongest health warning regime for cigarettes in the world,” said the foundation’s CEO, Doug Roth, in a statement.
“These are deadly products, and these measures will help to further reduce their appeal to youth and non-smokers, as well as to support current smokers in their efforts to quit.”
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Bennett also revealed expanded warnings for cigarette packages that include a longer list of smoking’s health effects.
Canada has required the photo warnings since the turn of the millennium, but the images haven’t been updated in a decade.
Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, noted that Canada also set a precedent by requiring the photo warnings, with other countries following suit.
He said he hopes the warnings printed on cigarettes themselves take off internationally as well.