Canada: Health warning labels to be displayed on individual cigarettes

Canada’s latest tobacco labelling regulation amendments came into force on 1 August, 2023. These amendments include a new requirement forcing manufacturers to display a health warning directly on individual cigarettes, little cigars with tipping paper, and tubes ─ making Canada the first country in the world to do so. Two series of six health warnings, in rotation, will have to be displayed in both English and French on the tipping paper (paper around the filter) of these products. These health warnings include messages such as “POISON IN EVERY PUFF” and “CIGARETTES CAUSE CANCER”. This approach is in line with the Guidelines for the implementation of Article 11 of the WHO FCTC, which call for Parties to consider the introduction of innovative measures such as, but not limited to, requiring health warnings to be printed directly on cigarettes, increasing the effectiveness of tobacco packaging and labelling measures.

In addition, the amendments strengthen and renew the health-related messages that appear on tobacco product packages, extend health-related information requirements to all tobacco product packages and implement periodic rotation of messages. The changes will be implemented through a phased approach that will see most measures implemented by mid-2024.

The amendments support Canada’s Tobacco Strategy and its target of reaching less than 5% tobacco use by 2035; they are part of continued efforts to help adults who smoke to quit, to protect youth and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction, and to further reduce the appeal of tobacco products. Pictorial tobacco package labelling requirements were first adopted in 2000 to increase awareness of the health hazards and health effects associated with tobacco use. The recently adopted amendments share the same purpose.

For more information, please, visit Health Canada’s tobacco product labelling webpage.


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