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Cancer warnings mooted for every Canadian cigarette

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The Canadian Government is considering placing health warnings directly on individual cigarettes.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor used World No Tobacco Day to describe the idea as “bold” and said it was being looked into.

The proposed measure is being studied by Canada’s Health Department officials, she said.

“Some people have suggested the idea of putting a warning on individual cigarettes and using what we call sliding shell,” Ms Petitpas Taylor told the Tobacco Control Forum.

“I have to tell you these ideas are being studied and I also have to tell you I really like them. They are quite bold.

“When I look at the rates of tobacco use, we have certainly come a long ways, but I personally believe a lot of work needs to be done in this area.”

Canada has followed Australia’s lead in legislating for plain packaging of cigarettes. New laws there should kick in by the end of the year, the Bill having recently received royal assent.

As was the case in Australia, the new packaging rules were bitterly fought by the big tobacco lobby, but it will nonetheless be illegal for cigarette packets to carry logos, promotional information, or branding.

Placing health warnings on individual cigarettes would be a leap further, but one that is being welcomed by health groups and anti-tobacco campaigners.

The Canadian Cancer Society praised the Health Minister’s comments on the individual warnings.

“The tobacco companies place the brand name and logos on the cigarette themselves, it’s a very good way to communicate with consumers,” said the society’s Rob Cunningham

“Under plain packaging, they will no longer be able to have that, so it is a great idea to have a health warning.”

Mr Cunningham suggested a single word like “cancer” or “emphysema” printed on a cigarette could be highly effective.

CHRIS JOHNSON

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