a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

HCC- Three recent studies support strong tobacco control on product packaging and labeling

<< back to Publications index

In the journal Addiction, a four-country survey of more than 8,000 people finds:

  • Smokers in Western countries continue to falsely believe that some cigarette brands may be less harmful than others, even where the descriptor terms “light” and “mild” are prohibited.
  • Smokers of “gold,” “silver,” “blue,” or “purple” cigarette brands are more likely to believe their preferred brands are less harmful than “red” or “black” brands.

A study published in in Tobacco Control reviewed 94 articles and studies concerning the effectiveness of cigarette pack health warning labels and finds:

  • Health warnings reach both smokers and non-smokers.
  •  Health warnings increase knowledge about the harms of smoking, promote cessation, and prevent non-smokers from starting to smoke.

A focus group study published in the European Journal of Public Health finds:

  • Packaging, either branded or plain, has no effect on consumers’ decision to buy counterfeit tobacco.

Key Messages:

  • Packaging and labeling restrictions are an important component of a comprehensive approach to reducing tobacco use.
  • Article 11 of the FCTC requires Parties to ban any packaging and labeling that is false, misleading, or deceptive.
  • Article 11 of the FCTC and its Guidelines provide that warning labels be large, clear, rotating, cover at least 50% of the total tobacco pack, and consist of both text and graphic images.

AAdditional Resources:

Full Citations:

Hammond D. Health warning messages on tobacco products: a review. Tobacco Control. 2011 May 23.

Moodie C, Hastings G, Joossens L. Young adult smokers' perceptions of illicit tobacco and the possible impact of plain packaging on purchase behaviour. European Journal of Public Health. 2011 Mar 26.

Mutti S, Hammond D, Borland R, Cummings MK, O'Connor RJ, Fong GT. Beyond light and mild: cigarette brand descriptors and perceptions of risk in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Addiction. 2011 Apr 12.

Addiction is a publication of the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs.

Tobacco Control is an internationally peer-reviews journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide. The journal is for health professionals and other in tobacco control and is a publication of the British Medical Journal.

The European Journal of Public Health is a multidisciplinary journal in the field of public health, providing a forum for discussion and debate about current international public health issues with a focus on the European region.

If you have any questions about the materials or how to use them in your advocacy efforts, please e-mail research@tobaccofreecenter.org.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 1400 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20005 (202) 296-5469 (202) 296-5427 fax