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Last updated: February 28th 2019

Other Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Warning requirements on unit packaging and labeling (e.g., packs)

Yes
Analysis

Article 27 of the Regulations on the Implementation of Tobacco Monopoly Law states that all cigarettes to be sold in China shall have the health warning “tobacco is harmful to your health” and tar level on packs and cartons. The Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling require warnings on “the packages and labels of cartons and packs of cigarettes” produced domestically (and not for export) as well as imported from abroad.

“Packaging” is not defined in any of the applicable legal enactments reviewed here. However, in practice the law is interpreted as requiring warnings on all retail packaging, including the unit package. Therefore, the law meets FCTC Art. 11 in that warnings are contained on packages sold at retail.

Warning/messages required on outside packaging and labeling (e.g., cartons)

Yes
Analysis

Article 27 of the Regulations on the Implementation of Tobacco Monopoly Law states that all cigarettes to be sold in China shall have the health warning “tobacco is harmful to your health” and tar level on packs and cartons. The Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling require warnings on “the packages and labels of cartons and packs of cigarettes” produced domestically (and not for export) as well as imported from abroad.

“Packaging” is not defined in any of the applicable legal enactments reviewed here. However, in practice the law is interpreted as requiring warnings on all retail packaging, including the cartons and outside packaging. Therefore, the law meets FCTC Art. 11 in that warnings are contained on outside packages sold at retail.

Warning texts must be in the principal language(s) of the country

Yes
Analysis

Warning texts must appear in Chinese on the front and back of the pack. This provision meets FCTC Art. 11 provisions that require warning texts to appear in the principal language of the country.

A requirement that warnings or messages may not be placed where they may be permanently damaged or concealed when opening the pack

No
Analysis

The rules do not specify that warnings or messages may not be placed where they may be damaged or concealed when opening the pack. To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should specifically prohibit the placement of warnings where they may be damaged or concealed when opening the pack.

A requirement that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal warnings or messages

No
Analysis

The rules do not specify that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal warnings or messages. To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should specifically prohibit the placement of tax stamps or other required markings where they may conceal warnings or messages.

A requirement to display qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions messages

No
Analysis

Qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions disclosures are not required. Instead, Art. 27 of the Regulations on the Implementation of Tobacco Monopoly Law states that all cigarettes and cigars to be sold in China shall include the tar level on packs and cartons. The Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling require that figurative yields for smoke content and emissions, such as levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, be displayed on product packages.

To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should require descriptive constituents and emissions disclosures rather than figurative yield numbers.

Prohibition on the display of figures for emission yields (including tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide)

No
Analysis

Article 27 of the Regulations on the Implementation of Tobacco Monopoly Law states that all cigarettes and cigars to be sold in China shall include the tar level on packs and cartons. The Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling require that figurative yields for smoke content and emissions, such as levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, be displayed on product packages.

To align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should prohibit figurative yield numbers and instead require descriptive constituents and emissions disclosures.

Plain or standardized packaging

No
Analysis

Plain packaging of tobacco products is not required. The FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines provide that Parties should consider adopting plain packaging measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images, or other promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard color and font style. Plain packaging aims to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, to increase the noticeability of health warnings, and to reduce the ability of the packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking.

Prohibition on misleading tobacco product packaging and labeling including terms, descriptors, trademarks, or figurative or other signs (e.g., logos, colors, brand images that directly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products)

Some Restrictions
Analysis

Article 9 of the Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling prohibits misleading language on the packaging and on inserts (leaflets inside the packaging) including terms such as “health promoting”, “low-harm”, and “safe”; remarks on cigarette qualities such as “light”, “ultra light”, and “mild”; and descriptors such as “low tar”.

To meet the requirements of FCTC Art. 11, the law should prohibit not only the use of terms and descriptors as it currently does, but also other signs that directly or indirectly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products, such as colors, logos, and brand images.