Vancouver, British Columbia – The Canadian government plans to put health warnings on every cigarette and ban some types of plastic as part of the Trudeau government’s new cycle of regulations.
“Poison in every puff.” By 2023, that’s the warning the Canadian government plans to put on every cigarette sold in the country. This would make Canada the first in the world to do so, as it did with graphic health warnings on cigarette packs in 2001.
Changes to health warnings on packages are also proposed; they would have to cover 75 percent of the back and front of each package and include warnings about colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, cervical cancer and diabetes. It is one of 16 diseases – apart from lung cancer – believed to be caused by cigarettes.
Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said the warning on each cigarette would ensure that the health message is delivered every time one is lit.
“Sometimes you experiment by smoking, “borrowing” a cigarette from a friend, brother or sister, without directly touching the package. And so … this type of experimentation with children is a very positive thing,” he said. Sometimes smokers who go out for a smoke break just take a cigarette instead of a full pack when they go out.’
By the end of 2022, the Canadian government is also banning the import or production of plastic bags and containers, such as those used for takeout in restaurants. It will ban the sale of packages and containers by the end of 2023 and their export by the end of the year. will end in 2025.
The government is also working to phase out many single-use plastics, such as straws, stirrers, cutlery and plastic rings used to secure six- and 12-packs of cans and bottles.
Sarah King of Greenpeace Canada. (photo by Greenpeace Canada)
Plastic was listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 2021.
Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada’s director of oceans and plastics, said the move is a good start, but there is more work to be done.
“We’re not even at the starting line yet in terms of solving Canada’s plastic waste and pollution problem,” she said. “So, you know, we’re definitely interested in the government getting more serious about reducing plastic and starting to accelerate our transition to systems that are more re-use and refillable.”
Political scientist Stuart Perst of Simon Fraser University. (Photo by Simon Fraser University)
But Stuart Prest, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said some Canadians will be upset by the new initiatives, seeing them as examples of overregulation and the expansion of so-called “nannying.”
“I think the reaction will be mixed,” he said. “I think this is the kind of issue that will fit very well into the current political dynamic of polarization that we see in Canada, where any attempt by the government to regulate – to try to push Canadians in a certain direction – is going to be limited. met with great, extreme skepticism in some circles.”
The next general election is expected to be held in October 2025, well after the new rules come into effect.