Facts from the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic
Warn about the dangers of tobacco use
- Despite conclusive evidence regarding the dangers of tobacco, relatively few tobacco users worldwide understand the full extent of the risk to their health. Smokers tend to underestimate the risks of tobacco use to themselves and others.
- Comprehensive warnings about the dangers of tobacco are critical to changing tobacco’s image, especially among adolescents and young adults, the ages at which people are most likely to begin tobacco use.
- Prominent warning labels on tobacco product packaging provide the most direct health messages to all smokers, as well as to non-smokers who see the packs.
- Warning labels encourage smokers to quit and discourage nonsmokers from starting, are well accepted by the public, and can be implemented at virtually no cost to governments.
- Warnings on both the front and back of packaging are extremely important so that smokers cannot overlook them.
- Warning labels should describe specific health effects and diseases caused by tobacco use, and should be periodically rotated to continue to attract the attention of the public.
- Pictorial warnings are more effective than text-only warnings and are essential for persons who cannot read and for young children whose parents smoke.
- Deceptive terms such as “low tar”, “light”, or “mild” should also be banned; these terms suggest incorrectly that some products are less harmful.
- In addition to health warnings, anti-tobacco education and counter-advertising can change social norms about tobacco use. This will cause many individuals to choose not to use tobacco, and also increases support for other tobacco control measures.
- Only about 15% of the world’s population lives in a country with strong graphic warnings on cigarette packs.
- About 28% of the world's population lives in countries that runs strong anti-tobacco mass media campaigns.