Pictorial warnings help kick the butt: WHO

Pictorial warnings help kick the butt: WHO

20Beijing, April 9 (IANS) Large, pictorial warnings on tobacco packets leads to greater motivation among smokers to quit and lowers motivation among non-smokers to start up, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report has said.

“Evidence from around the world shows that large, pictorial warnings significantly increase effectiveness of pack warning labels by increasing knowledge, awareness and perceptions of the risk of cigarettes,” said professor Geoffrey Fong, principal investigator of International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project).

The report from WHO and ITC Project calls for China to urgently move from text-only warning to pictorial warnings on at least 50 percent of the top of the front and back of the tobacco packs.

“This new report presents a very compelling case for the introduction of large, pictorial – or ‘graphic’ – health warnings on all tobacco packages in China,” Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO representative in China, emphasised.

It is estimated that tobacco use kills more than one million people every year in China that would increase to three million each year by 2050 if current smoking rates are not reduced.

According to Schwartlander, it is time for China to kick its tobacco habit.

“Indeed, the country’s future economic and social prosperity depends on it. The evidence and recommendations presented in this report, if implemented, would help China to do just that,” Schwartlander said.

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