Australia 1st on List of Countries with Best Cigarette Package Health Warnings

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 15, 2012 5:16 PM EST

Australia has been ranked as the top among global countries with the best cigarette package health warnings, according to an international report released by the Canadian Cancer Society.

The report, released earlier this week in Seoul during the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ranked 198 countries and jurisdictions on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages.

Australia topped all the countries as the report found that cigarettes manufactured by the country contained more than 82 per cent of health warnings both at the front and back of packages. It likewise lauded Australia's efforts to prohibit tobacco company colours, logo and design elements on the branded part of the package.

Uruguay and Sri Lanka tied at second spot at 80 per cent, while Canada and Brunei likewise shared the third spot at 75 per cent.

"Package warnings are a highly cost-effective means to increase awareness of the health effects and to reduce the use of tobacco. A picture says a thousand words. Pictures can convey a message with far more impact than a text-only message," Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said in a statement.

The Canadian Cancer Society releases the report every two years since 2008. It reviews and ranks the cigarette health warnings at the international level and tracks developments in this important area of tobacco control.  The most significant progress since the last report is Australia's adoption of plain packaging for tobacco products, with an implementation date of December 1, 2012, at the retail level.

"Plain packaging would curb the industry's use of the package as a promotional vehicle, would increase the effectiveness of package warnings, would curb package deception, and would decrease tobacco use," the report's authors said.

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