Medical News Report: Larger warning labels with graphic images showing the health hazards of smoking should be the new international standard for cigarette packaging, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). May 31 is “World No Tobacco Day” and will kick off the annual Tobacco Free Initiative campaign, sponsored by WHO.
This year’s theme focuses on tobacco health warnings to better “tell the truth about the deadly product within,” states the WHO. “Tobacco package health warnings that include images are a particularly powerful and cost-effective vehicle for communicating health risks.”
Graphic pictures with bold statements “engage audiences on an emotional level more effectively than text-only warnings and are therefore more likely to motivate behavioral change, “ according to a report by the WHO. Such labels can help communicate health information to less literate populations worldwide, they add.
The WHO recommends very large labels, covering at least half the cigarette package, and on all faces of the container. Labels should be changed often to keep the message fresh and attract interest. The WHO insists that all tobacco products should carry warning labels, not just cigarette packages.
Warning labels in the United States have not changed since 1984 and appear as inconspicuous small black and white print on the side of cigarette packs. Canada, Australia and several European countries have adopted the new label format and have shown that they are effective in discouraging smoking and increasing awareness of the health effects of tobacco use. The American Heart Association has come out with strong support for label changes in the United States.
For more information about World No Tobacco Day and health warnings on tobacco products, click on the following links.
WHO, “World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2009,”
WHO, “How to Make Warnings Most Effective,”
Related EmpowHer Links:
“Smoking Packs a Tougher Wallop for Women,”