LANGUAGE
Last updated: October 8th 2019

Health Warnings/Messages Features

Type of product: Smoked Tobacco Product
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Pictures (Photos), Text Warnings/Messages
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
30% of front, 100% of back, Side(s)
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
2 to 4
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - six months for a set of two warnings; 12 months for a set of four warnings
Analysis

Health warnings are required to be displayed on at least 30% of the front of the pack, 100% of the back of the pack, and 100% of one pack side. The image and a short message are to appear on the front.  A  longer text-only message that includes a descriptive statement about constituents and the quitline phone number is to be displayed on the back. The side warning is a short statement related to the health warning on the front and back of the pack. The warnings must be rotated so as to appear on an equal number of retail packages for each brand.

The most recent agreement includes three sets of warnings:
- two warnings to be displayed over a six-month period (December 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018);
- four warnings to be displayed over a 12-month period (June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019); and
- four warnings to be displayed over a 12-month period (June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020).

A mathematical formula for the size of the warning is provided in the RGLTC and subsequent agreements for packs with no clear front and back.

The law meets FCTC Art. 11 with respect to requiring a minimum size of 30% of the principal display areas and required rotation.  To align with the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the warning should occupy 50% or more of each principal display area.  Moreover, each warning on the two principal display areas (i.e., front and back) should be composed of text and pictures.

Type of product: Smokeless Tobacco Products
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Text Warnings/Messages
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
Side(s)
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
3
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 30 months
Analysis

Health warnings on smokeless tobacco products are text only covering 100% of one of the lateral sides of each pack. In the current set of warnings, there are three warnings in total, which must be rotated so as appear on an on an equal number of retail packages for each brand over a period of thirty months.

The law does not align with some important aspects of FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines in that it requires only text warnings, not pictures. Text-only warnings are not as effective as pictorial warnings. In addition, the warning should cover at least 30% of the two principal display areas.