Zoom Image

Warnings on cigarettes and packets in Canada

Photo: AP

Smoking is harmful to your health – word should have gotten around by now. Last but not least, notices on each box point out the risks. But that doesn't go far enough for the government in Canada. In the future, a health warning must be printed on every single cigarette and every cigar.

It is a "world first" in the fight against smoking, the government said on Wednesday. The warnings are to be introduced gradually from 1 August. These include phrases such as "poison in every puff", "tobacco smoke harms children" or "cigarettes cause cancer".

According to Minister Carolyn Bennett, Canada is the first country in the world to introduce such warnings directly on cigarettes. She spoke of a "bold step" that would make it virtually impossible for smokers to escape the health warnings.

In 2000, Canada was the first country to introduce images to warn of the dangers of smoking on cigarette packets, including images of damaged lungs or hearts. Since then, the number of smokers has declined. The declared goal of the government in Ottawa is to reduce its share of the total population to five percent by 2035. Currently, about 13 percent of Canadians still smoke. Every year, about 48,000 people die in the country as a result of smoking.

Sweden will soon be able to call itself smoke-free

Many countries have the goal of becoming smoke-free in the near future. Sweden is at the forefront. In the country, the smoking rate will soon be less than five percent. According to the common definition of the term, the country would henceforth be "smoke-free" – the first of all.

New Zealand is aiming for it by 2025, Great Britain by 2030, France by 2032 and Canada by 2035. The EU as a whole has set itself the goal of defeating the tobacco epidemic in 2040. While New Zealand has some chance of success, things are worse for the Europeans.

In European countries, the rate of smokers remains at a high level. Currently, it is around 20 percent of the population, almost four times higher than in Sweden. About 700,000 Europeans, including 140,000 Germans, die far too early every year as a result of tobacco consumption. One in four cases of cancer in Europe can be traced back to cigarettes.