Last updated: January 23, 2023
Health Warnings/Messages Features
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 two sets of warnings:
- four warnings to be displayed over a three-month period (December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022); and
- four warnings to be displayed over a 12-month period (March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023).
A mathematical formula for the size of the warning is provided in the Regulation of the General Law on Tobacco Control 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.
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 18 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.