Cigarette warnings...on the cigarettes themselves?

The federal government is considering taking cigarette warnings to an unprecedented level — cigarette warnings on actual cigarettes.

Ottawa has launched a consultation process looking at how to make cigarette warnings more effective, and one of the ideas now being floated is a requiring tobacco manufacturers to print warnings on individual cigarettes — along the lines of 'Smoking Causes Cancer'.

“There is recent but limited research showing that health warnings placed directly on a product, such as cigarettes, could be effective in making the product less appealing to users,” a Health Canada consultation document states.

If the feds follow through on that idea, Canada would be the first country in the world to require cigarette warnings on the products themselves.

Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analysts for the Canadian Cancer Society, says the move would have multiple benefits — newer, fresher warnings would have a greater impact on smokers, and they would also help make it easier for police to detect illegally-manufactured smokes.

The current warnings date back to 2012.

Since then, meanwhile, the smoking rate among Canadians has jumped slightly — from 13 per cent in 2015 to 15 per cent in 2017. Ottawa wants that cut to 5 per cent by 2035.

Would putting warnings on individual cigarettes be a good idea?