Tobacco timeline: with candy cigarettes now banned, we look back at Canada’s anti-smoking history

Tobacco timeline: with candy cigarettes now banned, we look back at Canada’s anti-smoking history

June 2000: graphic warnings become mandatory on Canadian cigarette packs (Image: tom stovall) 

Fruit-flavoured and candy cigarettes and cigars were pulled from shelves across Canada yesterday as part of the government’s efforts to crack down on tobacco use among young people. Besides eliminating all hope for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup–flavoured cigarillo, the ban has made it illegal for retailers to sell certain tobacco products flavoured with vanilla, banana, cherry or anything else the government deems too juvenile (menthols are apparently just fine, as they are as unappealing to kids as they are to everyone else). We thought the occasion warranted a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the government’s previous steps to keep us cancer-free. Here, some important dates in Canada’s ever-increasing battle against tobacco.

Selling tobacco to anyone under 16 becomes illegal with the Tobacco Restraint Act. To this day, toddlers in Indonesia continue to chain-smoke.

In light of impending parliamentary legislation, cigarette companies in Canada voluntarily decide to refrain from advertising on TV and the radio. What was a boon to health is also a boon to good taste. No longer will we see commercials like this or like this.

Toronto begins its anti-smoking campaign by eliminating smoking in public spaces and workplaces. In 2001, restaurants are included in the ban, followed by bars in 2004, whereupon club-goers are forced to become extra-vigilant about their body odours.

New regulations require cigarette packages to be emblazoned with huge, explicitly visceral warning labels. Americans collect more evidence that Canadians are weird.

Smoking is banned in all public spaces throughout Ontario, including enclosed patios and, paradoxically, smoking rooms.

Retail displays of tobacco products are banned in Ontario, forcing customers to actually remember what their brands are.

Ontario drivers who smoke with children in the car become subject to a fine.

The sale of flavoured tobacco products is banned. Teens are forced to experiment with far less delicious, but equally addictive, tobacco-flavoured tobacco.