Laws and regulations governing rotation of health warning labels on cigarette packs in the Region of the Americas

Alonso et al.


To provide detailed information about how countries in the Region of the Americas are fulfilling the requirements set out in the guidelines for the implementation of Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in relation to the rotation of health warning labels and to identify possible challenges in the implementation of the laws or regulations governing the rotation.


We first searched for and identified all the relevant laws or regulations pertaining to health warning labels on cigarette packs in 24 countries and territories in the Region of the Americas. We then analyzed these documents to see whether the requirements in the guidelines of the WHO Convention were being met, identifying similarities and differences across countries.


We found that the majority of countries (18/24) rotate the warning labels within the 12–36 month period recommended by the WHO Convention, and about half (13/24) have sets of 8 to 12 warning labels, thus complying with the additional regional guidance, which adds other stipulations. Across the Region, there is variability regarding transition periods between sets, which range from 1 to 6 months. In the majority of countries, the leading authority in charge of warnings is the Ministry of Health.


Our analysis shows that even when countries’ laws meet the requirements of the WHO Convention, there are still challenges. Most countries’ laws require future legislation or regulations to be adopted before new iterations of warnings can come into effect. If legal instruments are not adopted in a timely fashion – which is occurring in many countries – new warning labels are not implemented on time, and message fatigue becomes a risk.

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