Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society praises world precedent setting requirement for health warnings directly on every cigarette


The Canadian Cancer Society today commended new national tobacco regulations to require a health warning directly on every cigarette sold in Canada, a world first.  The regulations will also enhance the health messages required on the outside and inside of packages. Together, this will result in Canada having the best overall tobacco health warning system in the world.

“A health warning on every individual cigarette is innovative and unprecedented,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society.  “The measure means that health messaging will be conveyed with every cigarette and every puff, will be there during every smoke break, and will reach youth who experiment by borrowing cigarettes from a friend. This measure will reduce smoking and the appeal of cigarettes, thus preventing cancer and other diseases.”

It is expected that many countries will follow Canada’s example and also adopt this measure, just as there are now more than 130 countries/territories that have required picture warnings, following the Canadian precedent implemented in 2001.

For the warnings directly on cigarettes, there will be 2 sets of 6 warnings, with sets changed in rotation. The implementation date at retail for the first set will be July 31, 2024, for “King Size” cigarettes (83-85 mm in length) and April 30, 2025, for “regular size” cigarettes (70-73 mm) in length. A new round of 14 picture warnings will be required to appear on the outside of cigarette packages by April 30, 2024, with a second new set of 14 picture warnings to appear 24 months later. Enhanced messages on the package inside will also be required at retail by April 30, 2024. The new, final regulations announced today were previously proposed in June 2022 as a draft for consultation.

“On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, there is an opportunity to emphasize that far more must be done to reduce tobacco use and youth vaping in Canada,” adds Cunningham. “As part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy, we urge the federal government to adopt a series of additional measures, including requiring the tobacco industry to pay for the full cost of the government’s strategy, increasing tobacco taxes and banning flavours in e-cigarettes.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing 46,000 Canadians each year, including about 30% of all cancer deaths. Based on 2021 data, there are still 3.8 million Canadians who smoke, representing 12% of the population aged 12+. An enormous amount of work needs to be done to achieve the objective of under 5% of Canadians using tobacco by 2035.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, across Canada and for all types of cancer. As the voice for people who care about cancer, we work with governments to shape a healthier society. No other organization does all that we do to make lives better today and transform the future of cancer forever.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

For more information, please contact:

Rob Cunningham
Senior Policy Analyst