New big, bleak health warnings will encourage smokers to quit.

Monday 30 December 2002

ASH news release:  For immediate release:  Monday 30th  December 2002 



New big, bleak health warnings will encourage smokers to quit 


From 1st January 2003, all tobacco products sold in the UK will start to carry new stark health warnings on the front and back of packs.   As part of EU Directive 2001/37/EC [1],  the new health warnings will cover 30% of the front surface of cigarette packs and 40% of the back. The inclusion of the thick black border will add a further 10% to the area given over to the warnings. [2]


Commenting on the new warnings, ASH’s Research Manager, Amanda Sandford, said:


“Very soon there will be no escaping the stark facts about smoking.  Every time smokers reach for a cigarette they will be reminded of the health consequences of lighting up.  Although everyone knows smoking is harmful, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous it is.  These new warnings will be a constant reminder that smoking causes fatal diseases.


“The New Year is traditionally a time when many people resolve to quit smoking.  Faced with the harsh facts about the consequences of tobacco use, smokers are now more likely to seriously consider quitting.  Fortunately, there are now many sources of help available, so our advice to smokers is to speak to your GP or pharmacist about the best ways of quitting for good.”


The following general warnings will appear on the front surface:

The warning “Smoking kills/Smoking can kill,” or  “Smoking seriously harms you and others around you.”


Tobacco products will also be required to include one of the following on the reverse of the pack. These will be rotated so that they will all appear at regular intervals.


List of additional health warnings

1. Smokers die younger.
2. Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes.
3. Smoking causes fatal lung cancer.
4. Smoking when pregnant harms your baby.
5. Protect children: don’t make them breathe your smoke.
6. Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop smoking.
7. Smoking is highly addictive, don’t start.
8. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of fatal heart and lung diseases.
9. Smoking can cause a slow and painful death.
10. Get help to stop smoking: ring 0800 169 0 169.
11. Smoking may reduce the blood flow and causes impotence.
12. Smoking causes ageing of the skin.
13. Smoking can damage the sperm and decreases fertility.
14. Smoke contains benzene, nitrosamines, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.




[1]    EU directive 2001/37/EC.

[2]    Consumer Protect: The Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) Regulations 2002  Statutory Instrument 2002 N. 3041 implements this.

[3]   See mock up of a (fictional) cigarette brand displaying new health warnings:




Contact:  Amanda Sandford:  020 7739 5902