In an effort to curb smoking, Health Canada is looking at potentially forcing tobacco companies to make cigarettes less addictive. This possible anti-smoking initiative has not been implemented in any other country.
Making cigarettes less addictive means cutting down its nicotine level. While it makes sense to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes, experts have opposing opinions on this possible solution.
Some health experts say lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes can help discourage smokers and help them kick the habit.
Critics said creating a mandated nicotine limit would result in smokers consuming more cigarettes to reach their desired nicotine hit. In this scenario, smokers would only take in more of the carcinogens present in the tobacco product.
"It's so wrong-headed. The unintended consequences are screaming out on this. People adjust the way they smoke to get the nicotine they need or want," commented anti-smoking supporter and Ottawa lawyer David Sweanor.
In a 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that the participants given cigarettes with lowered nicotine levels smoked 25 percent less daily during the six-week experiment.
The promising results were achieved without smoking more cigarettes just to get the desired nicotine limit they were accustomed to.
Early this year, critics said the results were misleading and the participants who were assigned to the reduced nicotine sticks "supplemented" the low nicotine levels with normal cigarettes smoked outside of the study.
Other countries also adopt means to curb smoking rates. By May 2016, all cigarette products in the United Kingdom will be marketed in standardized, plain packaging. This initiative was rolled out in Australia in December 2012.
The anti-smoking project optimized on the evidence that found plain cigarette packaging lowered the number of young smokers.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the placement of bigger and more prominent health warnings on all cigarette packaging. The same inclusions are required in all tobacco advertisements across the country.
Manufacturers who do not include the health warnings will no longer be allowed to distribute their products in the country. The FDA requirement aims to communicate the real dangers of smoking to consumers.