New, more graphic labels for tobacco
OTTAWA—Smoking rates have dropped dramatically in the last 10 years, with steep declines in the number of teenage smokers, Statistics Canada reported today.
The new numbers emerged as the federal government trumpeted its mandatory new graphic anti-smoking packaging for cigarettes and small cigars.
Among teens aged 15-17, the rate fell to 9.4 percent from 20.8 percent. For those aged 18-19, the rate dropped to one-in-five from one-in-three.
Ottawa is continuing its efforts to persuade people to quit with tougher packaging rules, which became mandatory for retailers today.
The new labelling, which must cover three-quarters of cigarette packages, includes grisly pictures of a cancer-infected mouth and of an emaciated, cancer-stricken Barb Tarbox.
Tarbox was an anti-smoking activist before dying of lung cancer at the age of 42. Her story, among others, is featured in the new packaging, which was unveiled last year.
“This initiative continues our efforts to inform Canadians—especially young people—about the health hazards of smoking,” Health minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a news release.
A national “quitline” and website address also figure prominently on the new packs.
The newly-released statistics suggest that not only are fewer people smoking, many who do are smoking less.
Of the 5.8 million smokers in 2011, nearly 4.4 million smoked cigarettes on a daily basis, but heavy smoking—a pack or more a day—is waning.