Canadian vs. American Packaging

Despite significant efforts to educate and enlighten consumers about the dangers of cigarette consumption, the United States lags behind other developed countries when it comes to the implementation of effective warnings on cigarette packaging. “Warnings in other countries such as Canada and Brazil are more descriptive and specific and are accompanied by vivid and sometimes gruesome pictures.”[1] It is impossible to purchase a pack of cigarettes in Canada without witnessing the horrifying images of lung, throat, or heart disease that occupy the majority of the exterior packaging.

These images provide harsh reminders of how smoking can damage your health and deteriorate your body. Unfortunately, “present U.S. cigarette warnings are verbal in form and provide information, which is inadequate but appropriate to make it legally adequate.”[2] The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (1965) requires Surgeon General’s warnings on all cigarette packs in America, yet these warnings are inferior compared to the graphic warnings found on cigarettes sold in Canada.

2001: Canada was the first country to mandate picture warnings that occupy 50% of the cigarette package

2012: Canadian picture warnings were enhanced to cover 75% of the package


Canadian Cancer Society. “Cigarette Package Health Warnings.” Canadian Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

In addition to extremely graphic cigarette packages, Canada has required its cigarettes distributors to shield its products using plastic covers. This is aimed at preventing or reducing youth consumers from having any exposure to cigarette advertising and labels. (Tobacco Display Ban)

Canada banned the display of tobacco products in the mid-2000s

Canada banned the display of tobacco products in the mid-2000s

[1] [2] Nimbarte, Ashish, Fereydoun Aghazadeh, and Craig Harvey. “Comparison of Current U.S. and Canadian Cigarette Pack Warnings.” International Quarterly of Community Health Education 24 (2005): 3-27. Web.

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