Cigarette package health warnings and interest in quitting smoking --- 14 countries, 2008--2010

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 May 27;60(20):645-51.


The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires health warnings on tobacco product packages sold in countries that ratified the WHO FCTC treaty (1). These warnings are expected to 1) describe the harmful effects of tobacco use; 2) be approved by the appropriate national authority; 3) appear on at least 30%, and ideally 50% or more, of the package's principal display areas; 4) be large, clear, visible, and legible in the country's principal language(s); 5) have multiple, rotating messages; and 6) preferably use pictures or pictograms. To assess the effects of cigarette package health warnings on interest in quitting smoking among smokers of manufactured cigarettes aged ≥15 years, this report examines 2008--2010 data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 14 WHO FCTC countries. Among men, the prevalence of manufactured cigarette smoking ranged from 9.6% in India to 59.3% in Russia. Among men in 12 of the countries and women in seven countries, >90% of smokers reported noticing a package warning in the previous 30 days. The percentage of smokers thinking about quitting because of the warnings was >50% in six countries and >25% in men and women in all countries except Poland. WHO has identified providing tobacco health information, including graphic health warnings on tobacco packages, as a powerful "best buy" in combating noncommunicable disease (2). Implementing effective warning labels as a component of a comprehensive approach can help decrease tobacco use and its many health consequences.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Product Labeling*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • Young Adult