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November 10, 2021

Should Canada put even more graphic warning labels on its cigarettes?

Smokers get a raw deal, there may be no debate in that.

Ucm232363 They get pushed out in the cold, often stink like Hell and, thanks to recent regulations, get taxed up the butt – pun intended.

For the latter, though, who can be surprised? In a nation where health care is largely supported by the Canadian taxpayer, how could we not levy higher penalties on smokers, a demographic that, for all the “But my grandpa smoked his entire life and he lived 'til 95!” stories, will likely require more medical attention than the average Canuck?

Still, in the U.S. at least, the above doesn’t appear to be enough. On the heels of America’s recent bid to socialize its health care system, the FDA’s Department of Health and Human Services has just proposed new, more graphic warning labels be put on all cigarette packages (see accompanying pics).

To which begs the obvious question: should Canada do the same?

Cigarette packs sold in Canada already boast some pretty nasty warning labels. You know the ones – the gross “mouth disease” one, the depressing “tobacco smoke can hurt your baby” one and, perhaps most potent, the to-the-point “limp cigarette, ‘cause this is what smoking will do to your man parts” one.

Yet since 2000, when the more extreme cigarette labels were first put on Canadian packs, it’d be tough to say they haven’t done their job.

According to Health Canada, 24 per cent of the 15-and-over Canadian population were smokers at the turn of the century. In 2009, nine years after the labels were put on packs and cartons, that number had dipped to 18 per cent.

Now, whether you believe such a decrease is just a sign of the times, or the result of the graphic cigarette labels, should preface your answer to the following question:

Should Canada consider placing even more obscene deterrent labels on the packs of the cigarettes it sells?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

(*Images courtesy: FDA)



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...