TIRANA, March 6
In February Albania authorities passed a rule on cigarette graphic warning labels for all tobacco products. The verdict published on issue No. 28 of the Official Gazette will come into effect after 24 months. The new rule defines that each tobacco unit must carry combined health warnings, text and one corresponding photograph from the 15 new graphic warnings for cigarette packages. Tobacco use is a major public health threat and cause of preventable diseases and death both for smokers and passive smokers.
Many other countries already use such graphic warnings.
According to the rule, tobacco products shall be marketed based on a uniform design using font and size, pack color, warning messages, text, and images.
Every type of pack should state one of the general warnings: ‘Smoking Kills – Quit Now’ or ‘Smoking Kills’ as well as ‘Tobacco contains more than 70 cancer-causing chemicals’.
According to the decision published in the Official Gazette, the warning photos can be downloaded at the Health Ministry website, however, it does not specify the source of the images.
According to the Ministry, it was not possible to use images from the European Commission library, because only the EU member countries can use them. Hence, authorities asked permission to use images from Canada and Australia. However, the rule complies with a European Commission 2014 Directive.
In previous cases, citizens from EU member countries have sued cigarette producers for using images without their consent, even though the health warnings on cigarette boxes in the EU come from the European Commission library.
Moreover, the rule defines the procedure for tobacco packages of sizes that can’t meet the specified requirements. In such a case, the producer must submit a request to the Health Ministry, where it is explained why the brand fails to comply with the rule along with a pack sample. The Ministry must provide guidance and details to the subject within 30 days.
Source/Photo: Official Gazette