LANGUAGE
Last updated: September 18th 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
50% of front, 50% of back
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
6
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 24 months
Analysis

Each tobacco product package, unless spherical or cylindrical, must display one warning on each of the two largest external surfaces, occupying at least 50% of each surface.  For spherical containers, one warning must be printed, occupying 50% of the external surface of the container.  For cylindrical or conical containers, one warning must be printed on 50% of the largest external surface of the container.

Warnings must be parallel to and as close to the top edge of the container as possible.  In addition, warnings must be positioned in the same direction as other information on the packaging. 

Except for small containers, there are a total of six warnings, including text and a picture, set forth in the First Schedule. The text must occupy at least 35% of the total area and the image must appear above the text and occupy at least 50% of the total warning area. For small tobacco product containers (external surface area of 9,000 mm2 or less), there are a total of six text-only warnings set forth in the Second Schedule.

Warnings must be rotated so that each warning appears on an equal number of containers of each kind of tobacco product over a 24-month period.  The law does not specify a timeframe within which the health warnings must be updated.

The text of each warning must be printed in white against a black background, other than the word “WARNING” which must appear in red.

Beginning July 1, 2020, all products will be required to be in plain packaging and a new set of health warnings will come into effect. The health warnings will be required to cover 75% of the front and back of the package. 

For smoked tobacco products packaging, the law meets FCTC Art. 11 but does not align with some important aspects of the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, particularly with regard to updating the message content.  The law should specify that the Minister should update the messages every 12 to 36 months.  In addition, the warnings to be displayed on small tobacco containers should contain both pictures and text.

Type of product: Smokeless Tobacco Products
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Text Warnings/Messages
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
50% of front, 50% of back
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
3
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 24 months
Analysis

It is prohibited to import, distribute, sell, or offer for sale the following forms of smokeless tobacco: chewing tobacco, oral snuff, nasal snuff, and dissolvable tobacco or nicotine.

Although the law appears to prohibit all forms of smokeless tobacco products, the regulations contain requirements for health warnings on smokeless tobacco product packaging. Each tobacco product package, unless spherical or cylindrical, must display one warning on each of the two largest external surfaces, occupying at least 50% of each surface.  For spherical containers, one warning must be printed, occupying 50% of the external surface of the container.  For cylindrical or conical containers, one warning must be printed on 50% of the largest external surface of the container. 

Warnings shall be parallel to and as close to the top edge of the container as possible.  Each warning must be positioned in the same direction as other information on the packaging.  

There are a total of three text-only health warnings. Each of the warnings must be printed in rotation so that each warning appears on an equal number of containers over a 24-month period. 

The text of each warning must be printed in white against a black background, other than the word “WARNING” which must appear in red.

Beginning July 1, 2020, all products will be required to be in plain packaging and a new set of health warnings will come into effect. The health warnings will be required to cover 75% of the front and back of the package.

The law meets the obligations under FCTC Art. 11 but does not align with some important aspects of the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, primarily in that the law requires only text warnings.  Text-only warnings are not as effective as pictorial warnings. In addition, the law should specify that the Minister should update the messages every 12 to 36 months.