Sultanate rated 19th in global report on cigarette package health warnings

by Jenny Novac on November 28, 2012

Oman, which implemented warning labels on all tobacco products from August 9 this year, has been rated 19th together with other countries in GCC in the ‘Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2012’.

Oman Sultanate

The Sultanate of Oman

The review provides an international analysis, rating 198 countries, setting them on the basis of warning label size, and shows those that have completed demands for cigarette graphic warnings.

Till October 2012, 63 countries had completed graphic warnings. 17 countries including Oman and other GCC countries become a member of the group in 2012. Canada was the first to feature graphic warnings in 2001.

Even though right away after August 9, the new packs with graphic warnings were not noticeable in the market as sellers had old stock. Today, all cigarette packs in the country have the obligatory warning.

All the packs, irrespective of the kind of tobacco, must have graphic warnings and images on not less than 50% of the area at the bottom of both back and front sides of the packet.

Dr Jawad al Lawati, director of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Control, said that it is a fine beginning for the country.

“Implementing the rule of obligatory graphic warning this year is a success for the sultanate as it was overdue. Graphic warnings should be moved to the top of the package as against the present position at the bottom.”

He described that to produce better visibility and influence, graphic warnings should be put on both sides of the packet and at the top half.

“There was heavy lobbying by some GCC member states against the placement of graphic labels on top half of the pack that resulted in the acceptance of warning labels on the lower half,” Dr Lawati said.

The FCTC guidelines identify that the usefulness of graphic warnings rises with size, and that ‘parties should consider more than 50%’ and target to cover as much of the main display areas as possible’.

As the ranking is depending on size of the warning, Oman is rated 19th.

Australia has the biggest warnings at 82.5% of the pack area and back (75%, 90% back), exceeding Uruguay with 80%. Australia has also introduced plain packaging to ban cigarette maker colours, logos, and design aspects on the brand part of the pack.

With 63 countries that have completed graphic warning demands, more than 40% of the world’s population is covered. ‘If these countries implemented warning labels, then all countries can do this,’ said the report.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *