Last updated: January 30, 2023
Health Warnings/Messages Features
The law currently requires text warnings on the front and back of all consumer packages of tobacco products. The text warning must take up no less than 30% of the large side of the pack (i.e., front), with the warning that “Smoking Kills.” The other side of the pack must have one of twelve warnings, which may be accompanied by a picture, and the warning must take up no less than 50% of the back of the pack. Currently, however, these warnings are text only as pictorial images have not been issued. The warnings are to rotate concurrently; there are no requirements for consecutive rotation.
Both warnings must be placed within a black border, and the text must be in black letters on a white background, with a big, bold, and easily read font.
The current law requires warnings printed on the consumer pack of all tobacco products; however, the term “consumer pack” is limited to cigarettes. Therefore, the law does not provide for health warnings on smoked tobacco products that are not cigarettes.
Currently, the law meets the minimum requirements of FCTC Art. 11 with respect to size for packaging and labeling of cigarettes. However, to more fully align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should require graphic health warnings covering at least 50% of the principal display areas. In addition, the law should require that the content of the warnings be updated every 12-36 months.
New warning requirements were issued in May 2014. Once in effect, the amended law will require larger graphic health warnings on no less than 65% of the two largest surface areas of consumer packaging. The pictures must be printed on the upper part of the pack in high resolution. The text will be printed above the picture in bold, clear, and easily readable Arial font, in contrast to the picture.
Additionally, all smoked tobacco products (other than cigarettes) will be required to have the warning that “Smoking will harm your health.” If the package is such that it is impossible to print the warning, such as individual cigars or cigarillos, then the warnings must be included on a package insert.
The warning labels enter into force 12 months after the authorized agency approves the list of drawings, pictograms and/or photos on the harms of smoking. As of the date of this review, the authorized agencies have not yet released the new set of warnings, so an implementation date is uncertain.
The law requires smokeless products to carry one textual warning label that reads: “This tobacco product will harm your health.” The warning must be placed within a black border, together which must be no less than 30% of the front surface or insert. The warning must be printed in black letters on a white background, in bold, clear, legible font.
The warning requirement meets FCTC Art. 11 with respect to minimum size. However, to more fully align with FCTC Art. 11 and the FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines, the law should require large rotating graphic warnings on all tobacco products, including all smokeless tobacco products.