Japanese cigarette packs may get bigger health warning label

Kyodo

The Finance Ministry will consider requiring tobacco packaging to display more prominent warnings about the possible health impact caused by smoking.

An advisory panel to the ministry will start discussions to explore the possibility of imposing stricter rules on tobacco firms, such as expanding the area on tobacco packaging carrying warning messages, a ministry official said Monday.

The ministry plans to have the related law revised as early as this year following a study by the panel, which will compile an interim report in May or June after hearing opinions from experts and the industry.

The government requires tobacco packaging to display warnings using 30 percent or more space of their main surface to notify consumers of the risks of smoking, such as lung cancer and strokes.

T the World Health Organization’s convention on tobacco control says warnings should occupy “50 percent or more of the principal display areas, but shall be no less than 30 percent.”

Other countries have been adopting stricter rules on tobacco warnings, with Australia requiring the packaging to show images of the effects of smoking on the body, along with written warnings and no branding.