Monthly Archives: October 2009

Graphic warnings in Malta

Oct 21, 2009

Graphic images highlighting the dangers of smoking will soon be displayed on all tobacco products sold in Malta, director general of public health Ray Busuttil revealed on Tuesday.

A legal notice announcing the new regulations on tobacco packaging is expected to be issued by the end of this month, Dr Busuttil said at a press conference on EU anti-smoking campaign Help.

Health Promotion Department director Charmaine Gauci said that statistics showed that although the prevalence of smoking in Malta has been decreasing in recent years, the reverse was true among schoolchildren.

Dr Gauci noted that the smoking did not only adversely affect the lungs, but also presented numerous other problems. These include a greater susceptibility to infection, including, among others, to the pandemic H1N1 flu, she pointed out.

Stephen D’Alessandro, explaining the Help campaign, noted that addressing smoking among the young was a prime concern. Since peer pressure might pressure young people to smoke, the campaign has to address the perception that smoking is desirable, he said.

The second Help campaign, launched last May, follows the footsteps of the first campaign, which ran from 2005 to 2008, in targeting the young, illustrating the absurdity of smoking through humorous TV spots while leading them to the campaign website,, where serious advice is provided.

Its message aims to address 3 main objectives: prevention, cessation and passive smoking.

This time round, the campaign aims to be more interactive, inviting people to submit their own video tips on its website. In addition, young people have not only been the primary target of the campaign, but they have also participated in the strategy and development of the campaign.


Full article: DI-VE News (October 20, 2009)

Norway: Pictorial warnings in 2011

Oct 14, 2009

On October 12, 2009, Norway’s Ministry of Health and Care Services announced that all cigarette packs in Norway will carry a pictorial health warning by July 2011. The press release from the Ministry included the following information:

-Research shows that pictorial warnings are far more efficient than textual warnings. Pictorial warnings are easier to remember, communicate health risks more clearly and increase the motivation to quit smoking, says State Secretary Ellen Birgitte Pedersen at the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

A public consultation was carried out earlier this year, and the proposed pictorial health warnings were supported by nearly all stakeholders.

The new regulations will come into force 1 January 2010. Cigarettes must carry pictorial health warnings by 1 July 2011 at the latest, while other tobacco products must carry such warnings by 1 January 2012.

Pictorial health warnings will reduce the advertising effect of brands and logos on tobacco products. Even though the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) has banned the visible display of tobacco products at points of sale from 1 January 2010, the tobacco product health warnings will still be visible after purchase.

The EU has developed a library of pictorial health warnings, and the selection of pictorial warnings to be used in Norway has been based upon submissions to the public hearing and recommendations from the Directorate for Health.
Full Article: New Zealand Ministry of Health and Care Services (October 12, 2009)

Thailand’s New Picture Cigarette Pack Warnings Officially Law

Oct 2, 2009

The new graphic health warning regulation of Thailand has been printed in the Royal Gazette on September 30, 2009.  It will become effective in six months, allowing another three months for the phase out of products with the old warnings.  Lobbying by the industry prevented a shorter phase out.  In addition, one cigarette company submitted a letter questioning the health benefit of increasing the size of the graphic warnings from 50 to 55%.  Obviously, if there really were no benefit, then there would be no reason to oppose the change.

The new graphic warning will contain ten pictures, seven the same as previously used.  We have had difficulty finding suitable pictures, indicating a need for an international graphic picture bank.  New features in the new regulation include:
There are 3 new pictures. The size of the pictures on both principle pack surfaces is 55% of the surface. The warning will include the 1600 national quit line number Each carton is required to have all 10 pictures printed on it. Inside each carton must be packs with at least two different graphic warnings


Source: Professor Prakit Vathesatogkit, Advisor to the Tobacco Control Office, Thai Ministry of Public Health