S. Korea unveils first graphic cigarette warnings

March 31, 2016


SEOUL (Yonhap) — The government on Thursday revealed 10 graphic images showing the harmful effects of smoking that must be on cigarette packages for the first time starting at the end of this year.

A diseased lung, a hole in a throat, and rotten teeth were among the 10 pictorial warnings unveiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The images must occupy more than 30 percent of the front and back of cigarette packaging, and cigarette manufacturers have to change the pictures every 18 months, officials said. If the separate warning labels are counted, more than half of the front and back of the cigarette will show the grave health risks associated with smoking.

A revised health law came into effect in December that requires tobacco makers to present stronger warning messages and pictures on their packaging.

The anti-smoking group Korean Association on Smoking or Health welcomed the move, saying that the government must adopt stronger and more disturbing images to warn people against the dangers of cigarettes.

“The warning pictures and messages will occupy 50 percent of cigarette packages, which is insufficient compared to other countries,” said Woo Joon-hyang, chief of the association. He further argued that the size should be increased to 75 percent of the total packaging.

Over 80 countries adopt cigarette package warnings, including the European Union, which revealed similar warning pictures in November. The number is expected to hover above 100 by the end of this year.


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