Award for Best Warning Message on Cigarette Packs

Award for Best Warning Message on Cigarette PacksAward for Best Warning Message on Cigarette Packs

A contest to award the best cigarette pack design with the most effective health warning in line with the Comprehensive National Law on Tobacco Control, has been organized by the ministry of health and medical education.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the world today with six million tobacco-related deaths per year, 600,000 of whom are second-hand smokers reports the World Health Organization (WHO), said Dr. Shahram Rafiefar, head of the health ministry’s Office for Health Education and Promotion, quoted by ISNA.

No other consumer product is as dangerous, or kills as many people, as tobacco.

May 21, 2003 was a historic day for global public health. At the 56th World Health Assembly, WHO’s 192 member states unanimously adopted the world’s first public health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Negotiated under the auspices of the WHO, the treaty is the first legal instrument designed to reduce tobacco-related deaths and disease around the world. Now the key is for countries to sign and ratify the convention as quickly as possible.

The Islamic Republic of Iran joined the convention in 2005 and based on its provisions the Comprehensive National Law on Tobacco Control was devised and approved in the Majlis (parliament).

 Effective Images

Global studies show that powerful images on tobacco products are efficacious in delivering health messages and effective in encouraging people to quit smoking or prevent its start among youths.

Among its many measures, the treaty requires countries to impose restrictions on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion; establish new packaging and labeling of tobacco products; establish clean indoor air controls; and strengthen legislation to clamp down on tobacco smuggling.

The treaty obliges member states to adopt and implement large, clear, visible, legible, and rotating health warnings and messages on tobacco products and its packaging, occupying at least 30% (50% according to Article 5 of the national law) of the principal display areas.

Article 11 of the treaty specifies that warning messages put on packages must not be accompanied by tags such as “mild”, “light”, “low-tar”, or “ultralight” that confuse consumers.

 DCH Functions

Controlling use of tobacco, determining the nature or type of messages, health warnings, or pictures on packages that correspond to the adverse social, economic, health, and hygienic effects of such drugs are among the functions of Iran Drug Control Headquarters, according to Article 2 of the national law.

Education and training on tobacco use disorders is one of the six key resolutions adopted by the WHO to reduce global use of tobacco, the public relations department of the health ministry said.

The contest seeks to raise public awareness on tobacco and encourage public participation in curtailing its consumption in line with Article 2 of the national law and Article 11 of the convention. It also plans to compile a databank of local images to insert on product packets. “Participation in the contest is allowed for all age groups on any professional level,” said Rafiefar.

Those interested can visit the contest section on Ava-e-Salamat website affiliated to health education office of the health ministry at for forms and other information.