Canada to become first country in the world to require health warnings on individual cigarettes 

News release

May 31, 2023  |  Ottawa, ON  |  Health Canada

Today, on World No Tobacco Day, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced that Canada will soon require that health warnings be printed directly on individual cigarettes ─ becoming the first country in the world to take this approach.

The new Tobacco Products Appearance, Packaging and Labelling Regulations will be part of the Government of Canada's continued efforts to help adults who smoke to quit, to protect youth and non-tobacco users from nicotine addiction, and to further reduce the appeal of tobacco. Labelling the tipping paper of individual cigarettes, little cigars, tubes, and other tobacco products will make it virtually impossible to avoid health warnings altogether. In addition, the regulations will support Canada's Tobacco Strategy and its target of reaching less than 5% tobacco use by 2035.

These regulations will come into force on August 1, 2023, and will be implemented through a phased approach that will see most measures on the Canadian market within the year. Retailers will carry tobacco product packages that feature the new health-related messages by the end of April 2024. King size cigarettes will be the first to feature the individual health warnings and will be sold by retailers in Canada by the end of July 2024, followed by regular size cigarettes and little cigars with tipping paper, and tubes, by the end of April 2025.

Other measures include:

  • strengthening and updating health-related messages on tobacco product packages;
  • extending the requirement for health-related messaging to all tobacco product packages;
  • and implementing the periodic rotation of message.

The new regulations will be published in the June 7, 2023, edition of the Canada Gazette – Part II. In the interim, copies of the full regulations are available upon request by contacting

These measures support the objectives of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA), including to enhance public awareness about the health hazards of tobacco use. The TVPA regulates the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products sold in Canada. The second legislative review of the TVPA is underway, with a focus on the tobacco provisions of the Act and Health Canada will be launching public consultations to inform its review in the coming weeks. This latest legislative review follows the December 2022 tabling in Parliament of the first legislative review of the TVPA that focussed on the vaping-related provisions and operation of the TVPA, particularly the provisions to protect young persons. 


“Tobacco use continues to kill 48,000 Canadians each year. We are taking action by being the first country in the world to label individual cigarettes with health warning messages. This bold step will make health warning messages virtually unavoidable, and together with updated graphic images displayed on the package, will provide a real and startling reminder of the health consequences of smoking. We will continue to do whatever it takes to help more people in Canada stop smoking and help young people to live healthy tobacco-free lives.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health 

“Tobacco use continues to be one of Canada's most significant public health problems, and is the country's leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada. Our government is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal to help protect the health of Canadians, especially young people . Beginning next year, these new measures will help make sure that everyone across the country can receive credible information on the risks of tobacco use so they can make healthier choices for their wellbeing.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“The requirement for a health warning directly on every cigarette is a world precedent setting measure that will reach every person who smokes with every puff. This innovative measure will be accompanied by enhanced warnings on the package exterior, and health messages on the package interior that are internationally unique. The new regulations deserve strong support.”

Rob Cunningham
Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society

“Heart & Stroke is thrilled that new tobacco regulations will be coming into force. This includes the world precedent-setting measure of warnings on individual cigarettes and strengthened health messages on tobacco packaging, which will reinforce the deadly nature of these products. These important steps will help protect youth as well as support current smokers in their efforts to quit.”

Doug Roth
CEO, Heart & Stroke

“The bold measures announced today to strengthen tobacco product labelling will ensure the dangers of these products to lung health cannot be missed. Requiring warnings directly on cigarettes — the first country to do so — will help to reduce their appeal, particularly for youth. Canada must continue to take decisive action to reduce tobacco use.”

Terry Dean
President and CEO, Canadian Lung Association

Quick facts

  • Canada first adopted pictorial warning requirements for tobacco product packages in 2000 to increase awareness of the health hazards and health effects associated with tobacco use. The labels featured on tobacco product packages combine strong images with messages that are noticeable, informative and credible.

  • Current health-related messages and images for cigarettes and little cigars have been in place since 2011. Those for most remaining tobacco products have remained unchanged since their introduction in 2000. 

  • The regulations build on the achievements of existing tobacco product labelling requirements. The regulations consolidate all tobacco product appearance, packaging, and labelling requirements in a single set of regulations: the Tobacco Products Appearance, Packaging and Labelling Regulations.

  • Health Canada's Tools for a smoke-free life encourages adults who smoke to learn more about the array of resources and supports that can help them quit. 

  • The regulations bring Canada into full compliance with its tobacco labelling obligations under Article 11 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by extending health warning and toxicity information requirements to all tobacco product packages.

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Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

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Media Relations
Health Canada

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