Last updated: July 29, 2022

Health Warnings/Messages Features

Type of product: Smoked Tobacco Products
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Pictures (Photos), Text Warnings/Messages
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
50% of Front, 50% of Back, Side(s)
Rotation
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
7 pairs
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 12 months
Analysis

Pictorial health warnings must occupy 50% of the two principal display areas (front and back) of tobacco product packages, placed on the lower portion of the pack. The Ministry of Health has issued seven (7) pair of authorized warnings. Each pair contains two combined picture and text warnings with different warnings for the front and back of the pack. These warnings must be rotated in such a way that they are distributed evenly across tobacco product packaging. The Ministry of Health must update the authorized warnings annually.

The law requires that a qualitative warning on constituents and emissions appear on 100% of one of the lateral sides of the tobacco product packaging. The Ministry of Health issued seven (7) such warnings together with the seven (7) pairs of pictorial health warnings for the front and back surfaces of packages. However, of these seven warnings, none is actually qualitative constituents and emissions warnings; instead, they are are additional health warnings.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines regarding size, placement, content, and rotation of health warnings on smoked tobacco product packaging. However, to more fully align, the Ministry of Health should revise the lateral side warnings so that all six such warnings contain qualitative statements on constituents and emissions.

Type of product: Smokeless Tobacco Products
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Pictures (Photos), Text Warnings/Messages
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
50% of Front, 50% of Back, Side(s)
Rotation
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
7 pairs
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 12 months
Analysis

Pictorial health warnings must occupy 50% of the two principal display areas (front and back) of tobacco product packages, placed on the lower portion of the pack. The Ministry of Health has issued seven (7) pair of authorized warnings. Each pair contains two combined picture and text warnings with different warnings for the front and back of the pack. These warnings must be rotated in such a way that they are distributed evenly across tobacco product packaging. The Ministry of Health must update the authorized warnings annually.

Currently, many of the prescribed warnings pertain to smoked tobacco products, not smokeless tobacco products.

In addition, the law requires that a qualitative warning on constituents and emissions appear on 100% of one of the lateral sides of the tobacco product packaging. The Ministry of Health issued seven (7) such warnings together with the seven (7) pairs of pictorial health warnings for the front and back surfaces of packages. However, of these seven warnings, none is actually qualitative constituents and emissions warnings; instead, they are are additional health warnings.

Although smokeless tobacco use is not very common in Costa Rica, smokeless tobacco is legal and consumed by a small percentage of people. Therefore, to align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines (para. 36), the Ministry of Health should issue health warnings specifically for smokeless tobacco products.