A growing body of research indicate that large pictorial, usually graphic, warnings on cigarette packages have important public health benefits, including increasing awareness of the negative health effects of cigarette smoking.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the impact of cigarette pack warnings have found strengthened warnings increased attention to warnings, recall of warnings, thinking about the health risks of smoking, motivation to quit smoking, knowledge, and quitline calls. Strengthening warning also led to reductions in smoking behavior.
To date, 105 countries and jurisdictions worldwide now require such warnings. Seventy-seven countries have implemented warnings on cigarette packs.
Cigarette pack warning implementation is outlined in Guidelines to implement Article 11 (packaging and labelling), adopted under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC requires all signatories to “implement large, rotating health warnings on all tobacco product packaging and labelling.”
However, in the Caribbean only Jamaica (2014) and Suriname (2014) have taken steps to actually implement warnings in 2014. The Cayman Islands, which fall under United Kingdom jurisdiction, also moved towards implementation.
Three years ago, Trinidad and Tobago published Tobacco Control Regulations, 2013, (published on January 10, 2014), which require 50% pictorial warnings 12 months after publication. However, implementation is delayed.
The remaining Caribbean countries, while signatories to the FCTC, have yet to seriously take steps to implementing much of guidelines outlines in the Framework.
For more information see:
- Noar, S.M., Francis, D.B., Bridges, C., Sontag, J.M., Ribisl, K.M., & Brewer, N.T. (2016). The impact of strengthening cigarette pack warnings: Systematic review of longitudinal observational studies. Social Science and Medicine, 164, 118-129. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.06.011
- Noar, S.M., Francis, D.B., Bridges, C., Sontag, J.M., Brewer, N.T., & Ribisl, K.M. (2016). Effects of Strengthening Cigarette Pack Warnings on Attention and Message Processing: A Systematic Review. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1177/1077699016674188
- Noar, S.M., Hall, M.G., Francis, D.B., Ribisl, K.M., Pepper, J.K., & Brewer, N.T. (2015). Pictorial cigarette pack warnings: a meta-analysis of experimental studies. Tobacco Control, 25(3), 341-354. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2014-051978