Bolivia set for pictorial warnings

17 Jun 2011

Although Bolivia already has warnings that cover 50 per cent of tobacco packages, as of December the warnings will include one of seven different graphic images.

Bolivian tobacco control advocate, Dr Dennis Rada, said the pictorial warnings would help more Bolivians learn about tobacco’s health consequences.

“The new warnings will also lead to more government commitment to tobacco control implementation in terms of stronger laws, 100 per cent smoke-free policies and banning all forms of tobacco promotion,” Dr Rada said.

The change comes at a time when Bolivia faces an increasing tobacco burden among the young and women.

According to Dr Rada, 37.3 per cent of Bolivia’s population (10 million people) are smokers and about 2,000 non-smokers die every year from exposure to second -hand smoke.

Dr Rada added that the new labels would also help influence Bolivia’s neighbouring countries to do the same – as well as support Uruguay, which has implemented very strong tobacco control measures, including the largest pictorial warnings in the world.

** Dr Rada is an MD in epidemiology and trained in tobacco control. He is based in Bolivia and works as a freelance consultant with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the InterAmerican Heart Foundation Argentina.

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