LANGUAGE
Last updated: January 14th 2021

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
70% of front, 30% of back, Side(s)
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
5
Length of Rotation Period
Specified - 12 months
Analysis

The law requires health warnings to appear on tobacco product packaging, and specifies that “[t]he prescribed warnings may include pictures, symbols, pictograms or other graphic representations.” The warnings prescribed in the Tobacco Control Regulations include both a graphic picture plus accompanying textual warning message for the front, and a text-only warning message for the back.

The Tobacco Control Act establishes that warnings must occupy at least 30% of the principal display areas. Under the Tobacco Control Regulations, warnings are required to cover 70% of the front principal display area (picture and text) and 30% of the back principal display area (text only).

These warnings must be rotated so that a range of warnings are displayed on all tobacco brands and brand variants. Manufacturers or importers must ensure that warning combinations are printed on - as far as possible - an equal number of packages of each brand and brand variant.

Article 10 of the Tobacco Control Regulations specifies which combination of warning messages must appear on tobacco product packaging at what time. Specifically, combinations in Schedule 1 are to be printed on packages intended to be supplied during the first eight months of an even-numbered year, commencing on January 1, 2014. Combinations in Schedule 2 are to be printed on packages intended to be supplied during the first eight months of an odd-numbered year, commencing on January 1, 2015. In the period of four months beginning on September 1 in any year, manufacturers or importers may print any combination of warnings required by Schedules 1 or 2 for packages intended to be supplied during this period.

In addition, information on toxic constituents is required to be displayed on one side panel. Different statements are provided in Schedules 1 and 2 to accompany each health warning. On packs with a flip-top opening, the constituents statement must cover the total area of the side except the area that forms part of the flip-top. For cartons, the constituents statement must cover 25% of one side panel.

The law meets FCTC Art. 11 with respect to size, placement, and rotation. To more fully align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should require that graphic health warnings appear on the front and back and are required to cover at least 50% of the front and back of the package.

Type of product: Smokeless Tobacco Products
Type of Warnings / Messages Required
Uncertain
Location and Size of Warnings / Messages on Unit Packaging
70% of front, 30% of back, Side(s)
Rotation Required
Required
Number of Warnings / Messages Authorized to Be Displayed at Any Given Time
Uncertain
Length of Rotation Period
Uncertain
Analysis

For the most part, the law does not distinguish between health warnings on smoked and smokeless tobacco product packages. Therefore, the same requirements are interpreted as applying to both smoked and smokeless products. However, the Tobacco Control Regulations only prescribe the contents of warnings for retail packaging of cigarettes, loose tobacco, and pipe tobacco.

The law requires health warnings to appear on tobacco product packaging, and specifies that “[t]he prescribed warnings may include pictures, symbols, pictograms or other graphic representations.” The warnings prescribed in the Tobacco Control Regulations include both a graphic picture plus accompanying textual warning message for the front, and a text-only warning message for the back. As previously noted, however, the contents of the warnings prescribed in 2013 pertain only to cigarettes, loose tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Thus, the type of warning/contents required to appear on smokeless tobacco products is uncertain.

The Tobacco Control Act establishes that warnings must occupy at least 30% of the principal display areas. Under the Tobacco Control Regulations, warnings are required to cover 70% of the front principal display area (picture and text) and 30% of the back principal display area (text only).

These warnings must be rotated so that a range of warnings are displayed on all tobacco brands and brand variants. Manufacturers or importers must ensure that warning combinations are printed on - as far as possible - an equal number of packages of each brand and brand variant.

The Tobacco Control Regulations contain further details on rotation; however, these details are specific to the warnings contained in the attached schedules, which apply only to cigarettes, loose tobacco, and pipe tobacco.

In addition, information on toxic constituents is required to be displayed on one side panel. For smokeless tobacco products, “constituents” is defined as “the chemicals inherent in the tobacco itself released by particles during the process of consumption. For all packaging that is not a cigarette pack or carton, the information must occupy at least 9% of the total surface area of the pack. (Different statements are provided in Schedules 1 and 2 to accompany each health warning. As noted, however, these pertain to cigarettes, loose tobacco, and pipe tobacco.)

The law meets FCTC Art. 11 with respect to size, placement, and rotation. To more fully align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should require that graphic health warnings appear on the front and back and are required to cover at least 50% of the front and back of the package. In addition, the contents of the warnings to appear on smokeless tobacco products should be prescribed and should pertain to the health effects of smokeless tobacco.