Foreign

Canada Targets Youths, Mulls Warnings on Cigarettes

Canada’s government is proposing putting health warnings on individual cigarettes in what would be a world-first way of tackling the habit.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said she hoped the measure would help reach more people.

She said the key target were young people who often access cigarettes “in social situations sidestepping the information printed on a package”.

A 75-day public consultation period on the issue starts on Saturday.

“Adding health warnings on individual tobacco products will help ensure that these essential messages reach people,” Ms. Bennett told reporters.

She added that photo warnings on cigarette packets – introduced in Canada in 2001 – were no longer as effective as the government had hoped.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada welcomed the new proposal.

“Canada will now have the strongest health warning regime for cigarettes in the world,” the foundation’s CEO, Doug Roth was quoted as saying by Canada’s CBC public broadcaster.

“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.”

In 2020, more than four million Canadians were daily or occasional smokers, according to Statistics Canada.

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of illness and premature death in the country with a population of more than 38 million.

An estimated 48,000 Canadians die each year as a result of smoking, according to the Canadian Lung Association.

BBC/Simeon Ugbodovon

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