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Picture based Cigarette Health Warnings
Legislation and Regulations

A list of countries which have developed picture-based warnings has been prepared by Rob Cunningham (September 2008). (Click here to download).

,Examples from each country are shown below.  More information can be found by clicking on the name of the country to the right.

Australia
Belgium
Brazil,
Brunei (examples not yet available)
Chile
Canada,
Djibouti (examples not yet available)
Egypt
(examples not yet available)
Hong Kong
India
 
Jordan
Malaysia
New Zealand
Panama
Peru (examples not yet available)
Romania
Singapore
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Venezuela
   

 

The European Union  has given each of its 25 member countries the option to require one of 42 picture based cigarette warnings.   

 
Australia

date in effect:
1 March 2006

Warnings cover 30% of the front and 90% of the back of each package.  The back of the package provides expanded information on the warning, as well as information on the Australian Quitline.

Fourteen warnings have been developed: seven to be displayed in the first year, and seven different warnings in the second.

Links to:

full set of Australian warnings (html)
full set of Australian warnings (pdf)
Australian law
Australian government announcement
 


Belgium

date in effect:
April 2007 (and earlier)

The size of Belgian warnings is determined by European Union regulations (see below).  The warning must cover 35% of the cigarette package (because Belgium is a country with three languages).  A border is also required.

In August 2004, Belgium issued a Royal Decree stating that companies must start manufacturing cigarettes with combined picture-text warnings after the designs were made public by the government, and that all cigarettes sold must have these warnings within 18 months.  The government issued guidelines for the combined warnings on October 27, 2005.

Belgium has created three series of warnings, each set containing 14 warnings. The first set will appear during the first year, the second on the second year, and so forth.

Belgian Royal Decree (August 2004) (html)
Belgian Ministerial decree, with pictures of warnings (October 27, 2005)(pdf)
Belgian government announcement
 


Brazil

date in effect: 
February 2002

Warnings must cover 100% of one side of the package (the one most easily visible to the consumer). 

Brazil developed new health warning messages, which will take effect revised its health warning messages in

Links to:
full set of Brazilian warnings (html)
Brazilian regulation
Brazilian news release (English)

 


Canada

date in effect:
December 20, 2000

Warnings must cover 50% of each of the front and back of the package.  One side is in English and one side is in French (Canada's two official languages).

Each package must also include an insert (a flyer or printed on the inside of the package) which provides information on quitting.

There are 16 health warning messages which must appear in equal numbers in each brand.

Health Canada is now developing a new set of warning messages.

links to:
full set of Canadian warnings (html)
Canadian law
Health Canada information
 


Chile

In August 2006, Chile adopted a new tobacco law which, in addition to establishing smoking restrictions in public places, banning advertising and the promotion of 'light' brands, required that all cigarette packages display a graphic health warning that occupied 50% of the package surface.

The requirement for new health warnings came into effect on November 12, 2006.

The warning, shown below, was reinforced with a public information campaign (see billboard).


Links to:
  Chilean government press release (English)
►  Presidential statement (English)
 law 20.105
 Powerpoint presentation of Chilean law (Spanish) (11 mb!)


Hong Kong

In October 2006, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region gazetted changes to its Smoking Ordinance. Among other things (including ban on misleading descriptors), the new regulations require that by October 27, 2007 all cigarettes sold in Hong Kong display 50% health warning messages in both Chinese and English.


Korea

In March 2007, the Korean government indicated that it would be introducing legislation in June 2007 to require picture warnings covering 30% of the bottom of the package starting in 2008. News report. 

India

date in effect:
February 2007 (in law, but not necessarily in practice.

In 2003, India passed a law which, among other things, required picture based health warning messages.  The supporting regulations were issued in 2006. Four rotating health warning messages are required.

 

Tobacco Kills 2500 Indians Every Day Your Smoke Kills Babies

Jordan

date in effect:
January 2005 (?)

In March, 2005, the Jordanian government announced that it would require an image of a diseased lung to be printed on cigarette packages.  

The image will occupy 1/3 of a cigarette packet's side panel, while the written warning against cancer and lung disease caused by smoking would cover 1/3 of the front or rear of the packet.
 

Links to:
Jordan government press release
 


Malaysia

On May 31, 2008, the Malaysian Minister of Health announced that pictoral warnings would appear on cigarette packages in that country and on September 15, 2008, the 6 required images were gazetted.

On January 1, 2009, each manufacturer must ensure that 2 brands display the warning messages and by March 1, 2009, all brands must display these warnings. On June 1, 2009, all cigarettes without the new warnings must be removed from the market. (source: Dr. Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed)

pdf from regulation

 


New Zealand

In November 2006, the New Zealand government announced that by February 27, 2008 all cigarettes sold in that country must have one of 14 warnings covering 90 of the back of the package and 30 of the front. The warnings must appear in both English and Maori languages. Graphic health warnings are also required on cigars.

Cigarette packets will also display the Quitline freephone number and other information about quitting smoking. The government also revised its toxic constituent labelling for the side panel of cigarette packages. .

Links to:
New Zealand consultation document
New Zealand Press release (november 2, 2006)


Panama

Tobacco products in Panama must carry a picture health warning on one side of the package.  This measure was adopted in 2005. 

Panama law
Panamanian regulation

   

Romania

date in effect:
1
July 2008

Romania passed an order in June 2005 adopting the EU text and picture warnings.

Links to:
Romanian regulation of June 15, 2004
Ordinance 574 din 30 martie 2007 (30 March 2007)
 Ordinance  nr.618 10-04-2007


Singapore

date in effect:
  July 1, 2004

Singapore requires that each package of cigarettes includes a health warning that is at least 50% of both sides.  There are six health warning messages.

links to:
full set of Singapore warnings (html)
Singapore law
 

 

 


pictures not yet available

Switzerland

date in effect:
January 1, 2010 (for graphic warnings)

 

Link to
Swiss Health Authority
Swiss Law
Swiss press release

 

Taiwan

As of January 2009, picture warnings will be placed on packages, occupying 35% of the front and back.  The amendments will come into effect on January 11, 2009.

Taiwan law 
 

 

 

 

 


Thailand

date in effect:
25 March 2005

Thailand requires that each package of cigarettes includes a health warning that covers at least 50% of both sides of the package.  here are six health warning messages.

links to:
full set of Thai warnings (html)
Thai regulation
Thai government press release

 


United Kingdom

In August 2007 the United Kingdom announced that, effective October 1, 2008, cigarettes sold in that country must show one of 15 health warning messages, many of which use pictures.  These warnings were selected following a public consultation process and are taken from those developed by the European Union

August 2007 regulation: The Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2007
 Regulatory Assessment
 Report on Consultation


 

Uruguay

 In 2005, Uruguay developed regulations requiring eight picture health warnings to appear on the bottom 50% of each side of each tobacco package.  Tobacco companies were given six months to comply with the regulation, and messages messages must be on all cigarette packages in April 2006.

Uruguayan regulation
 

 

5Venezuela

date in effect:
15 april 2005

Venezuela provides 10 warnings which must be shown in rotation on 100% of one side of the cigarette package.  The packages must also carry a warning that "there is no safe level of consumption." 

Links to:
full set of Venezuela  warnings (html)

Venezuela regulation
Venezuela  press release
 


European Union

date in effect: 
October 1, 2004

The European Union does not require pictures on cigarette warnings.

It does provide its member states with the option of using some of 42 picture based warnings.

The minimum size for cigarette warnings in the EU is 30% of the front and 40% of the back (for unilingual countries), and 32% and 45% of the back for bilingual countries. A border is also required.

links to:
full set of European warnings (html)
European Union directive (2001)
 European Union decision on the use of colour (2003)
EU Press announcement, October 22, 2004


 

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