The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Packaging and Labelling: The FCTC Commitments

Article 11 requires each Party to the FCTC to adopt and implement, within a period of three years after entry into force of the FCTC for that Party, effective measures to ensure that tobacco product packaging and labelling carry large, rotating health warnings and do not promote tobacco products by false, misleading or deceptive means. Article 11 also requires that tobacco product packaging and labelling contain information on relevant constituents and emissions of tobacco products as defined by national authorities.

Health warnings


Parties agree to ensure that all packets of tobacco products, and any packaging and labelling used in retail sale of tobacco products, carry a rotated series of health warnings (which must describe the harmful effects of tobacco use, and may include other appropriate messages) that should cover at least 50% – and must cover at least 30% – on average of the principal display areas (usually the front and back of the pack) (Article 11.1(b)). The warnings and messages may be in the form of or include pictures or pictograms. Each Party must ensure that its warnings and messages are approved by competent national authorities (Article 11.1(b)), and that any textual information appears in its principal language or languages (Article 11.3).

Prohibition of false, misleading or deceptive promotion


Parties also agree to ensure that tobacco product packaging and labelling does not promote a tobacco product by any means that are ‘false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions' (Article 11.1(a)). Such means include the use of ‘any term, descriptor, trademark, figurative or any other sign that directly or indirectly creates the false impression that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products', which may include terms such as ‘low tar', ‘light', ‘ultra light', or ‘mild'.

Information on constituents and emissions


In addition to warnings, Parties agree that all packets of tobacco products, and any packaging and labelling used in retail sale of tobacco products, shall contain information on relevant constituents and emissions of tobacco products as defined by national authorities (Article 11.2). 

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