India, U.K. Latest Countries to Require Picture Warnings

U.K. warning label
Large, picture-based health warning labels on tobacco packages are an essential component of a national strategy to reduce tobacco use. Scientific studies have found that prominent health warnings lead to greater awareness of health risks of tobacco use and an increased desire to quit.
Studies have also found that warning labels are most effective at communicating the health risks of tobacco use when they contain both pictures and words and are large and in color. Warning labels also must be rotated periodically to avoid exposure.
Article 11 of the World Health Organization tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, states that health warnings should cover at least 50 percent of the principal display areas (both the front and back) of the tobacco package, but at a minimum must cover at least 30 percent of the principal display areas. It also requires that the warnings be rotated and recommends the use of pictures or pictograms.
Parties to the treaty have three years to comply with these warning label requirements.
At least 14 countries in North and South America, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe and the Middle East have required picture-based health warnings. Canada was the first country to do so in 2001.
India and United Kingdom recently became the latest country to require picture-based health warnings. Effective dates are December 1, 2007 for India and October 1, 2008 for the U.K.

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