Pictorial Health Warnings are a Must for Effective Tobacco Control (Editorial)

Pictorial Health Warnings are a Must for Effective Tobacco Control (Editorial)

The theme for World No Tobacco Day, this year is “Tobacco Health Warnings”, the slogan being “Show The Truth. Picture Warnings Save Lives”. Only 25 countries in the world today have legislation on mandatory tobacco health warnings on all tobacco product packages. However, the number will soon go up as many countries will start implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2003. The need for health warnings on tobacco products packs is obvious as most tobacco users start this habit when they are not fully informed about adverse health consequences associated with this habit. When even a potentially life saving drug is mandated to inform consumers about its potential adverse effects, such disclosures should be mandatory for tobacco products which claimed over 5.4 million lives globally in 2008 (1). Since the industry does not reveal the truth by itself, laws are needed to ensure that facts are provided to the many millions (2) who consume tobacco in one form or another in India? The tobacco industry communicates with its target audience through ‘on pack advertising’. Packages are created to be highly appealing and divert attention from the harmful effects of tobacco products. Pictorial health warnings can effectively counter these promotional efforts by displaying highly unappealing images of the health effects of tobacco use. These will serve to inform the consumers and also clear any deceptive messaging used by the tobacco industry to market their products as ‘light’ or ‘mild’ (3,4).

Pictorial Health Warnings are a Must for Effective Tobacco Control (Editorial)



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