New Brunswick — Health Canada announced new a new and innovative tobacco ordinance today that it hopes will be an effective deterrent for Canadian smokers.
“Unfortunately, increasing the size of the graphic warnings on cigarette packages had not worked as well as we had hoped. Apparently, people still aren’t able to see them,” said Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown. “So last year we batted around a few ideas like pop-up warnings, packages that play a recorded scream when opened, or restricting cigarettes to those with a prescription from a doctor. Ultimately, we have decided to take a different approach altogether.”
New Brunswick’s Department of Health is on board with the mandate that all cigarettes must be made to be 438% more toxic by 2015. All cigarettes with current toxicity levels will be disposed of at the expense of the tobacco companies by Jan. 1.
“We feel that this is a fair and reasonable request to ask of our tobacco industry, in the interest of public health and sanitation,” said New Brunswick Department of Health spokesperson Allen Tremblay in a televised announcement.
McKeown said the decision for the toxicity increase to be 438 percent was made after “A ton of surveys and scientific experiments. A ton.”
“We thought maybe if we made cigarettes too toxic,” he said, “then teenagers would start buying them to play some sort of sick ‘cigarette roulette’ type of game to see if the cigarette would kill them. You know how these kids are — anything for a thrill. So we decided that the 438-percent increase would make them just toxic enough to be effective as a deterrent.”
McKeown stresses that Health Canada is not imposing on the right of the cigarette industry to choose what goes into their product.
“We are not telling the tobacco companies what to put into their product,” he said. “We’re just telling them that whatever it is, it must make them 438% more toxic than they are right now. Plutonium, maybe? I don’t know.”
But what about the smokers? Do they feel this mandate will help them to stop smoking?
“I can’t wait. I’m marking January 1st on my calendar,” said longtime cigarette smoker Jeremy Parsons while opening his 2015 Pall Mall calendar to the first page. “Hey, there it is.”
Health Canada encourages smokers to stock up on cigarettes with the current toxicity levels if they are unhappy with the new mandate.