World No Tobacco Day and Health Warnings

Tomorrow (May 31) is World No Tobacco Day and this year’s theme focuses on the effectiveness of large pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs as compared with small text-based warnings.

A new report on this issue has been produced by Roswell Park Cancer Institute and its pretty convincing. If the new “caring” tobacco industry really wanted the public to be better informed about the health effects of tobacco then this should convince them to place these types of warnings on cigarette packs voluntarily (along with the number for each national telephone Quitline), rather than resist them in countries that don’t yet have them (e.g. the United States).

Download the report here:
??Listen to the audio interviews with ITC investigators about this study here:

The ITC Collaboration is an ongoing international longitudinal study currently in 19 countries around the world, including developed and developing countries. The ITC Project has released a report focusing on tobacco warning labels, prepared for World No Tobacco Day. The ITC report entitled, Evidence and Recommendations from the ITC Project FCTC Article 11 - Tobacco Warning Labels is based on ?cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of text and pictorial warnings across many ITC countries. The report concludes that graphic pictorial warnings are more effective than text-only warnings. Specifically, graphic pictorial warnings: (a) are more noticeable and dominant than text warnings, (b) heightens awareness of about the harms of smoking, (c) motivates smokers to quit smoking.??Dr. Michael Cummings, chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, recently interviewed three experts in the field of health warning labeling on tobacco products: Dr. David Hammond from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada; Dr. Maansi Bansal-Travers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, and Dr. Ron Borland from the Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. These researchers discuss the research that has been conducted in tobacco warning labels and the findings that show that large pictorial warning labels are the most cost-effective way for governments to educate smokers about the health risks from smoking and increase motivation to quit. Listen to the interviews here:

The findings provide compelling evidence of the effectiveness of pictorial warnings and support the strong FCTC Article 11 Guidelines, adopted at the Third Conference of the Parties in November 2008, which call for pictorial warnings on at least 50% of the package.

Download the report here:
Listen to the audio interviews with ITC investigators about this study here:
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About the Author

MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.