The Canadian government has announced stricter labelling and packaging regulations for tobacco in the country.

As per these regulations, health warning messages are required to be printed directly onto individual cigarettes, a move that will make Canada the first such country to do so.

The new regulation was announced by Carolyn Bennett, the government’s mental health and addictions and associate minister of health, and a minister on the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day.

Expected to come into force on 1 August 2023, the regulation will strengthen and update health-related messages on tobacco product packages. The packaging, including the health-related messages, will be rolled out to retailers by the end of April 2024.

It also calls for the extension of health-related messaging towards all tobacco product packages and the implementation of a periodic rotation of this message.

The new laws are part of the government’s efforts to protect the country’s young population and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction and to reduce the overall appeal of the product.

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The government plans to implement these regulations through a phased approach.

By July next year, king-size cigarettes with individual health warnings will be available across associated retail stores in the country.

Canada’s minister on health Jean-Yves Duclos said: “Tobacco use continues to be one of Canada’s most significant public health problems and is the country’s leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada.

“Our government is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal to help protect the health of Canadians, especially young people. Beginning next year, these new measures will help make sure that everyone across the country can receive credible information on the risks of tobacco use so they can make healthier choices for their well-being.”

In August last year, news agency Yonhap reported that the South Korean government announced plans to introduce stronger health warnings on cigarette packaging.