If you're a smoker, you're going to have an even harder time avoiding in-your-face warning labels on your cigarettes describing the dangers of smoking.

Packages of cigarettes and little cigars sold in Canada will now carry large, new anti-smoking images and messages. The new labels have been in circulation for a while, but as of today, retailers can only sell cigarettes with these new labels.

The health warnings cover three-quarters of the front and back of the main panel package, instead of the 50 per cent of the package they used to cover.

The 16 new images include graphic pictures of a cancer-infected mouth and an enlarged, diseased heart. Two of the labels also feature pictures of an emaciated, Barb Tarbox, the anti-smoking activist who died of lung cancer at the age of 42.

Tarbox's widower, Pat Tarbox, says he and his daughter Mackenzie are glad to see the warning labels that his wife dreamed of seeing.

"Mackenzie and I would never have envisioned the events that are now unfolding," Pat Tarbox said in a statement.

"Barb's message is as loud and clear as ever, and she would have been taken aback at the magnitude of the work being done since her original campaign. We look forward to seeing fewer and fewer youth smokers - just what she wanted."

The insides of cigarette packs will also include eight new health information messages. And the front label will include a Canada-wide quitline phone number and web address that can connect smokers to free phone counselling about resources to help them quit.

The web address allows smokers to access online smoking cessation information from provincial, territorial and federal government websites.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the labels are part of an ongoing federal effort to inform Canadians, particularly young people, about the perils of tobacco use.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that in 2011, 1 in 5 Canadians aged 12 and older -- nearly 5.8 million people -- smoked on an occasional or a daily basis. That's down from 25.9 per cent in 2001.