Health Canada is adjusting its messaging on weed

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Not so long ago, any public health campaign harped on the same theme when it came to drugs: Don’t do it.

But now such advice would seem archaic given we are on the cusp of an era of legal weed. Health Canada is planning on designing its messaging to be appealing on smartphones and devices popular with teens.

The federal government has adopted a harm reduction approach to its education around cannabis. That means instead of warning the public not to consume it, the messages point out that there are circumstances where it should be avoided.

A social media campaign has been underway since last spring, and Public Safety began running a campaign on drug-impaired driving last fall.

There’s also a cannabis health facts advertising campaign underway, launched last March, which aims to deliver “honest facts” to teens. This campaign features questions from the public and answers by cannabis experts and can be found on the government’s cannabis website. More recently, Health Canada launched an interactive engagement tour which targets youth and young adults and takes place at events like fairs, music festivals and sporting events.

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In the old days Health Canada relied on more traditional mediums like newspaper ads and pamphlets that were distributed at public events or on street corners, but these days it would be totally ineffective given that the target audience for such campaigns are more likely to spot such messages while on their smartphones. But it is probable that Health Canada will experiment using different mediums to get their message out.

As October 17th approaches, there will be a greater need to address the health concerns and ensure the message gets to those most likely to use and misuse cannabis-teenagers and millennials. -CINEWS

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