Health warnings

JTI is concerned by proposals for significant increases in the size of health warnings on tobacco packaging.

In some cases, it has been proposed that health warnings be expanded to occupy the majority of the front and back of cigarette packaging. It has also been suggested that such measures be considered in lieu of – or in addition to – proposals for plain packaging.

These proposals appear to be based on the assertion that larger health warnings will result in raising awareness of the health risks of smoking and changes in the behavior of smokers.

JTI believes that adult smokers should be appropriately informed about the health risks of smoking before they make the decision to smoke. Further, JTI believes that smokers should continue to be reminded of those risks.

JTI places a health warning on all of its cigarette packs – even if it is not required to do so by law.

JTI, however, is opposed to proposals for larger health warnings such as those described above. Effective communication of the health risks of smoking can and should be achieved without having a disproportionate impact on legitimate competition, intellectual property rights and freedom of expression.

JTI does not believe that increasing the size of health warnings to cover more of the principal display area of the packaging is effective or proportionate:

  • There is no reliable evidence that larger health warnings would enhance awareness of the health risks of smoking or change smoking behavior;
  • Larger health warnings are not based on, or consistent with, a credible and scientifically rigorous understanding of the behavior of smokers. Simply put, larger health warnings will not be effective in influencing decision-making and smoking behavior. See Consumer Information, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation; Expert Reports.

Finally, larger health warnings, such as those contemplated today in some countries, would infringe JTI's fundamental legal rights to property, expression and trade – without justification. These rights are protected by Constitutions, international trade treaties, intellectual property laws, bilateral investment treaties, and national laws.

JTI has proposed less restrictive, more targeted and proportionate alternative solutions which would avoid the unnecessary, unjustified and disproportionate introduction of the larger health warnings currently being contemplated in some markets.  See Alternative Regulatory Solutions, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation.

Last updated on 2012-03-26