- Canada is moving to become the first country to require health warnings on every cigarette.
- The message will read "poison in every puff," the country's associate health minister said.
- Canada was the first country to make tobacco manufacturers put graphic images on their packaging.
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Canada is moving to make tobacco companies print health warnings on individual cigarettes in an effort to slash the number of smokers in the country.
Associate health minister Carolyn Bennett announced new plans to crack down on cigarette use on Friday, with the government saying tobacco was the "leading preventable cause of illness and premature death" in Canada.
Health Canada said in a statement that it plans to have the warnings printed on all "individual cigarettes, cigars that have a filter, and cigarette tubes."
"Labeling the tipping paper of cigarettes and other tobacco products would make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings altogether," Health Canada said. "If implemented, Canada would be the first country in the world to introduce such a requirement."
The message currently being considered is "poison in every puff," though that may change, Bennett told a press conference Friday.
The introduction of the new messaging is subject to a 75-day public consultation period that began Saturday, the government said.
Terry Dean, the president of the Canadian Lung Association, called the move a "bold and impactful strategy, one that will continue Canada's trend of being a leader in tobacco control."
The government is also moving to make tobacco companies put more health warnings on their packaging, such as warnings of stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and cervical cancer.
In 2001, Canada became the first country to require tobacco manufacturers to place graphic photos warning of the dangers of smoking on half of the front and half of the back of their packaging. The move has since been adopted by the likes of the UK and Australia.
Around 48,000 Canadians die from smoking-related illnesses each year, according to the government. Data published by Statistics Canada last month showed that 10% of Canadians smoke regularly.
The Canadian government has launched a campaign to halve the number of regular smokers by 2035.