Warnings on tobacco may be effective

May 21, 2009 at 6:16 PM
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ATLANTA, May 21 (UPI) -- Health warnings on tobacco product packages are effective in highlighting the perception of health risk, a U.S. health report said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the health warnings also: supported the intention to quit tobacco use, discouraged the intention to begin tobacco use and increased cessation rates.

However, larger warnings, with pictures, are more likely to be noticed, better communicate health risks, provoke greater emotional response and further motivate tobacco users to quit, the report said.

The report assesses the current status of tobacco packaging health warning requirements worldwide. Governments could further discourage tobacco use by requiring prominent health warnings on tobacco packaging, the report concluded.

In early 2007, the World Health Organization's Tobacco Free Initiative collected information about legally mandated use of tobacco health warnings through a questionnaire distributed to all 193 WHO member states and one territory.

Data reported from 176 member states found 44 percent did not require any warnings on cigarette packs, and 40 percent required warnings covering less than 30 percent of the principal display area.

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