[Pictorial health warnings on tobacco products packages as a part of tobacco epidemic control]

Dorota Kaleta, Anna Kozieł, Paulina Miśkiewicz
Medycyna Pracy 2009, 60 (5): 399-403
The use of tobacco products has been described by the World Health Organization as the risk factor responsible for six out of eight causes of death in the world. Informing about the harm of smoking may be presented in many ways like media campaigns, text warnings, or graphic warnings placed on tobacco products. The aim of this article is to describe the role of graphic warnings placed on tobacco products in light of tobacco control. In this work, the available current data, including researches and reports of WHO, have been used. Graphic warnings may be a very valuable source of knowledge about health consequences of smoking. They are also much more visible, draw attention much better compared with text warnings and more clearly communicate the threats of tobacco use. They also have a stronger impact, are better memorized and better motivate to quit smoking. Pictorial warnings are also approved by the society. Smokers themselves perceive them as more effective than text warnings. Moreover, this kind of labeling makes tobacco products less attractive. The introduction of legal regulations enforcing these types of warnings does not cost anybody but the tobacco companies. This kind of solution helps to gain public acceptance for other methods of tobacco control like totally free tobacco smoke places.

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