Concerned that the disturbingly morbid labels on cigarette packaging isn’t doing enough to deter smoking, Health Canada is considering putting ominous warnings on individual smokes as well.
The move would make Canada the first country in the world to do so. The reason? The federal government has set an ambitious target of lowering the smoking rate to less than 5% by 2035.
“We think that type of bold goal requires some matching bold approaches,” said Sarah Butson, director of health promotion and youth engagement with the Lung Association of Ontario. “We simply can’t keep the status quo with regard to tobacco control.”
Currently, around 13% of Canadians say they smoke. Most concerning is that one in 10 Canadians between the ages of 15 and 19 are smoking. Globally, Canadians rank somewhere near the middle when it comes to cigarette consumption.
Other proposed measures include bolder colours for warning labels on packaging, as well as cartoons, thought bubbles, and other visual elements to communicate the dangers of darts.
Of course, both federal and provincial governments have already introduced plenty of bylaws to make it more difficult for people to light up. In Ontario, for example, it’s illegal to smoke in public spaces, workplaces, on bar and restaurant patios, and within a 20-meter radius of all playgrounds and sports fields. Stores are also prohibited from displaying cigarettes. Going on step further, the City of Hamilton banned smoking in parks and on playgrounds, beaches, sports fields in 2012.
According to Health Canada smoking is responsible for around 45,000 deaths in Canada every year.