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Manitobans have mixed reactions to incoming individual warnings on cigarettes

New Health Canada regulations that require warning labels on individual cigarettes are being met with praise by advocates and indifference by smokers.

The regulations, which come into effect Tuesday, will give manufacturers nine months to put labels on their products and retailers three months after that to have all inventory switched over.

Erin Garriock doesn’t think the new warnings will deter her from picking up a cigarette.

“I don’t think putting a couple words on a cigarette … if they’re already buying it they already know what it’s going to do to them,” she said.

Ron Dmitrowicz agrees.

“No warnings are going to stop me unless I wanna stop myself, it’s all willpower,” he said.

Dmitrowicz has been smoking since he was 16. He quit for a decade but picked the habit back up after only smoking one cigarette.

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The wording which will appear on every cigarette, written in English and French on the paper around the filter, ranges from warnings about harming children and damaging organs to causing impotence and leukemia. “Poison in every puff,” cautions one.

The campaign will begin with six different warnings and a second set will roll out in 2026.

John McDonald, executive director for Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance, said the new warnings will do more to deter youth from smoking.

“Every little opportunity we can take to stop people from picking up that first cigarette is very important,” he said.

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The executive director said along with more messaging, the Canadian government should be regulating other nicotine products like vapes, which offer thousands of flavours for users.

“Having a variety of different fruit flavours on the market, that’s not about tobacco reduction, that’s about attracting kids to nicotine,” he said.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at Canadian Cancer Society said the warnings will make smoking less attractive and force smokers to take a closer look at the dangers of smoking.

“It brings things home,” he said.

In Manitoba, more than 1,500 people die each year from tobacco-related causes, according to McDonald.

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Johnathan Kamenicky thinks the new warnings will deter smokers from picking up a pack, including himself.

“I think about it every day … when I open my package of cigarettes, and if I take a cigarette, I think of that warning every day,” he said.

with files from Katherine Dornian and The Canadian Press

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