Packaging & Health Warning Campaigns

Standardized (plain) packaging & Warning labels campaigns

Health warnings on tobacco product packaging are critical to any effective tobacco control strategy. They increase public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use and help to ensure that the packaging tells the truth about the deadly product within.Tobacco companies use packaging and other advertising techniques to make tobacco seem appealing, while distracting consumers from the harsh reality of how tobacco destroys health. Tobacco product packaging is a central marketing tool for tobacco products and the tobacco industry's most effective vehicle for advertising its lethal products.

Health warnings on tobacco packaging reach all smokers and cost governments nothing. In Africa, tobacco product packaging in most countries provides little or no information to warn consumers of the risks. As laid out in guidelines to Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, warnings should appear on both the front and back of the packaging and be large and clear and describe specific illnesses caused by tobacco. Pictures of disease have a greater impact than words alone. In addition, anti-tobacco advertisements can publicize tobacco’s dangers. Use of graphic images demonstrating the harm of tobacco use can be especially effective in convincing users to quit.

Standardized packaging is not actually 'plain', but instead involves regulating the design characteristics of tobacco packaging (e.g. the branding, coloring, typography, size, shape and method of opening), so that tobacco products must be sold in a standardized form of packaging.This will deprive tobacco companies of one of their last, very powerful, marketing tools to promote their products.We develop proposals for plain packaging of tobacco products and campaigns to include pictorial warnings on tobacco products. Our Campaigns aim to enact and enforce effective pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packaging in accordance with Article 11 of the WHO FCTC and its guidelines



People have died from tobacco-related diseases in Africa since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.

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