Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2009

The focus

Most people are unaware of the extent of the harm that tobacco causes, even if they have some idea that it is a health risk.

Tobacco companies use packaging and other advertising techniques to make tobacco appealing, while distracting consumers from the harsh reality of how tobacco destroys health.

It is a proven fact that warnings on packaging are an inexpensive and powerful way to show the truth about tobacco consumption. Warnings that include images of the harm that tobacco causes are particularly effective at communicating risk and motivating behavioural changes, such as quitting or reducing tobacco consumption. Picture warnings convey a clear and immediate message, even to people who cannot read. They reduce the overall attractiveness of tobacco packages — an important function for a product whose new users are typically young and image- and brand-conscious.

In response to this threat and the demand from countries for action, the World No Tobacco Day 2009 campaign focuses on the following main message:

Health warnings on tobacco packages that combine text and pictures are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use and to reduce tobacco consumption.

WHY DO WE NEED TO CAMPAIGN FOR PICTURE-BASED HEALTH WARNINGS ON ALL TOBACCO PACKAGES?

BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND TO WORK IN COUNTRIES THAT HAVE REQUIRED THEIR USE. FOR EXAMPLE:

In Canada, 58% of smokers said the warnings made them think more about the health effects of smoking.

In Brazil, 67% of smokers said the warnings made them want to quit, and 54% said they made them change their opinion about the health consequences of smoking.

In Singapore, 28% of smokers said the warnings made them smoke fewer cigarettes, and one out of six said they avoided smoking in front of children as a result of the warnings.

In Thailand, 44% of smokers said the warnings made them "a lot" more likely to quit over the next month, and 53% said they made them think "a lot" about the health risks.

Share