Tobacco Adverts to Bear Larger Warnings From June 22

Next month, large and grievous health warnings which are among the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act, approved last year by the Congress, will appear in the advertisements of smokeless tobacco products in all the magazines published across the nation. The new regulation will come into force on June 22 and require the tobacco companies to place bigger and bolder warnings on the ads of their smokeless tobacco.

Currently, the warnings on these products are shown in the corner of the page. But under the new law, they must occupy 20 percent of the total space of the ad.

Public health groups are praising the measure, saying the larger warnings would not remain unnoticed by the readers, like the smaller warnings are.

According to the nationwide market research, smokeless tobacco is used by approximately 3 percent of adult Americans. The research as well demonstrated that bigger and bolder warnings on smokeless tobacco discourage its users. The warnings will be changed for the first time since 1986.

Among the messages in the new warnings will appear the following ones: “This product can cause cancer,” “This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss,” and “Smokeless tobacco is addictive.” Currently the adverts had the same messages except the last one, but written in much smaller type.

However, some scientists are still not pleased with the warnings, since they are published in white letters on black background.
The University of Tennessee professor Margaret A. Morrison admitted that such black-and-white warnings are usually ignored by the readers of the ads. Prof. Morrison, who recently carried out a research about the impact of tobacco ads in magazines, said that when looking at the advertisement as a whole, the readers are likely to be attracted by colorful text and image in the ad, instead of looking at the text at the bottom of the ad.

Another prominent scientist, Gregory N. Connolly, head of the Harvard Public Health School, stated that the biggest concern is the text of the advertisement, and not the size of the health warnings below it, as smokeless tobacco is marketed as a product that can be used in any place.

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco issued a statement saying they would place the new warnings on the ads of smokeless even before the regulation takes into effect, as all the June advertisements will have larger warnings.

Smokeless tobacco is a growing segment in U.S. tobacco market, and is considered to be the future of tobacco industry amid constantly shrinking cigarette market. However, the innovative products are currently in the center of heated discussions between their supporters and opponents. And while the supporters state smokeless tobacco is much safer than cigarettes, the opponents argue that these products target younger adults and keep smokers hooked on nicotine.

As regards the cigarettes, in conformity with the federal law, the packs of cigarettes will have larger and bolder warnings as well, which will be required from June 22, 2011. The warnings must fill 50 percent of the space of both the front and the rear of the pack and would also bear grievous graphic images.

Similar Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!