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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2345

Sri Lanka - Rotation of Pictorial Health Warnings on tobacco products

By Manjari Peiris

Sri Lanka initiated implementation of Article 11-Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs ) - on tobacco products - of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization, early 2015. The pictures cover 80 percent of the surface area of cigarette packets, and eight pictures were introduced.

According to WHO guidelines relating to PHWs, the Convention specifies that health warnings and messages shall be rotating. Rotation can be implemented by having multiple health warnings and messages appearing concurrently or by setting a date after which the health warning and message content will change. The Parties should consider using both types of rotation.

WHO states that the novelty effect of new health warnings and messages is important, as evidence suggests that the impact of health warnings and messages that are repeated tends to decrease over time, whereas changes in health warnings and messages are associated with increased effectiveness. Rotation of health warnings and messages and changes in their layout and design are important to maintain saliency and enhance impact.

WHO also states that the Parties should specify the number of health warnings and messages that are to appear concurrently. Parties should also require that health warnings and messages in a specified series be printed so that each appears on an equal number of retail packages, not just for each brand family but also for each brand within the brand family for each package size and type.

The Parties should consider establishing two or more sets of health warnings and messages, specified from the outset, to alternate after a specified period, such as every 12–36 months. During transition periods, when an old set of health warnings and messages is being replaced by a new set, Parties should provide for a phase-in period for rotation between sets of health warnings and messages, during which time both sets may be used concurrently.

However other than appearing the same old eight pictures on tobacco products, we do not see any rotation taking place since introduction of PHW regulation, early 2015. It is almost 4 years since PHW regulation had commenced enforcement.

WHO also states that the Parties should consider adopting strategies to evaluate the impact of packaging and labeling measures both before and at regular intervals after they are implemented. Similarly, the Parties should consider publishing, or making available to other Parties and to the public, the results gathered from monitoring of compliance and evaluating impact.

Does it take place, if so why the same eight pictures are displayed on cigarette packets in Sri Lanka throughout 4 years?

- Asian Tribune -

Pictorial Health Warnings
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