tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

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Pictorial warnings on tobacco packages are effective

WATERLOO - Shocking pictures of diseased lungs, a brain damaged from a stroke and other disturbing images that appear on cigarette packs in Canada are effective in informing people about the harms of smoking and motivating smokers to quit, says a new University of Waterloo review article.

Canada was the first country to introduce pictorial warnings in 2001 and, over the past nine years, 27 other countries have introduced similar Canadian-style pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging. Many other countries are considering doing so.

But are these pictorial warnings effective?

A review article in the Aug. 1 issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization concludes: “Substantial evidence from a broad range of studies supports the inclusion of graphic pictorial images on tobacco warning labels.” It was written by Waterloo psychology professor Geoffrey Fong, and co-authors David Hammond, professor of health studies and gerontology, and Sara Hitchman, psychology graduate student.

“Our research findings show that graphic pictures can enhance the effectiveness of warning labels by making them more noticeable, increasing thoughts about the hazards of smoking and increasing motivation to quit,” said Fong.
Although smoking rates have declined in Canada, as they have in many high-income countries such as Australia and those in Western Europe, smoking still remains by far the biggest killer in Canada. Currently, 37,000 Canadians die each year of smoking - more than AIDS, car accidents and illegal drug use combined.

Worldwide, the tragedy is far worse and will only worsen, Fong said. In the 20th century, 100 million people died from tobacco use, but in the 21st century, tobacco-related deaths are projected to grow to one billion. And 70 per cent of the death toll will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the tobacco epidemic has not yet peaked but where tobacco-related deaths will accelerate to more than 10 million deaths a year by 2025.

To combat the looming disaster, 160 countries have pledged to implement tobacco control policies as part of the world’s first health treaty - the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Many of these policies are familiar to Canadians: pictorial warning labels, advertising/promotion bans, higher taxes on tobacco products and smoke-free laws.
Much of the research on the impact of pictorial warnings has been conducted by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project) - a massive international research collaboration across 20 countries inhabited by more than 50 per cent of the world’s population, 60 per cent of the world’s smokers and 70 per cent of the world’s tobacco users.

The ITC Project was founded by Waterloo’s Fong in 2002 as an international system for evaluating tobacco control policies of the worldwide tobacco treaty across many countries. The findings of the ITC Project so far have strongly supported FCTC policies.

The ITC Project issued a global report on pictorial warning labels for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, an annual initiative of the World Health Organization. That report, as well as many other reports of research findings from the ITC Project, can be found at

Health warning labels on tobacco packaging are the most cost-effective tool for educating smokers and non-smokers alike about the health risks of tobacco use. This is especially important in low- and middle-income countries, where there are few other sources of information about the health risks.

Fong and his colleagues write that pictorial warnings may be particularly effective in populations with lower literacy rates, but that it is essential to select pictures that clearly tell of the harms of smoking rather than simply showing people smoking, which might inadvertently suggest approval of smoking.

“Although pictures may say a thousand words, it is critical to select those that say the correct thousand words,” they write.

Canada is in the process of revising the country’s pioneering approach to health warnings.
In the eight years since the Canadian pictorial warnings first appeared, other countries have created new innovations in graphic pictorial warnings, including testimonials from smokers who have suffered from a smoking-related disease and greater vividness in the images.

Waterloo’s Hammond has created a web resource where pictorial health warnings from every country can be seen:

“Canada was the shining example for the world when their pictorial warnings came out,” Fong said. “Many years later, we know that the effectiveness of the Canadian warnings have declined considerably. We hope that when Canada’s new warnings are introduced, they will again lead the world in their innovation and effectiveness.”

© Copyright: Exchangemagazine

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