International Issues

Warning Labels

"Health warnings on tobacco product packaging are critical to any effective tobacco control strategy. They increase public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use and help to ensure that the packaging tells the truth about the deadly product within."
— Showing the truth, saving lives: the case for pictorial health warnings, WHO 2009

"Showing the truth, saving lives"

Large, picture-based health warning labels on tobacco packages are an essential component of a national strategy to reduce tobacco use.

Tobacco companies depend on package design to build brand recognition and promote sales. Packaging establishes brand imagery that is often completely opposite to the realities and dangers associated with tobacco product use.

Control over tobacco packaging is critical to tobacco control efforts. Tobacco packs can effectively broadcast messages about the harmful impact of tobacco use.

Research shows that effective warning labels increase knowledge about risks associated with smoking and can influence future decisions about smoking. Large and graphic warning labels can motivate smokers to quit, discourage nonsmokers from starting, and keep ex-smokers from starting again.

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 over exposure.

Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires Parties to the treaty to adopt and implement large, clear, and rotating health warnings on all tobacco products within three years of FCTC ratification.

Graphic Warning Labels by Country and Jurisdiction by WHO Region

AFRICA

Burkina Faso
Chad
Madagascar
Mauritius
Seychelles

AMERICAS

Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Ecuador
El Salvador
Honduras
Jamaica
Mexico
Panama
Peru
Suriname
Uruguay
Venezuela

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

Bahrain
Djibouti
Egypt
Gulf Cooperation Council
Iran
Jordan
Kuwait
Oman
Pakistan
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

EUROPE

Belgium
Denmark
European Union
France
Guernsey
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Jersey
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Malta
Norway
Romania
Russia
Spain
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom

SOUTHEAST ASIA

India
Indonesia
Nepal
Sri Lanka
Thailand

WESTERN PACIFIC

Australia
Brunei Darussalam
Fiji
Hong Kong
Macau
Malaysia
Mongolia
New Zealand
Philippines
Singapore
Taiwan
Vietnam