There is an immediate need for evidence on nonnumeric or ��descriptive�� emission statements. For example, it remains unclear whether consumers would be best served by a long list of toxic chemicals, a subset of the most hazardous chemicals, or perhaps the most recognizable toxicants, such as arsenic and benzene, using graphics or symbols, or by using these statements in combination clearly with particular warning label content, such as disease outcomes with which they are associated. Research should also examine the most effective way of communicating the addictive constituents from tobacco products and whether it is possible to design these messages to increase awareness of the highly addictive nature of tobacco products, without undermining self-efficacy for quitting among current users.
Given that pictures and symbols are known to increase the effectiveness of the health warnings that appear on the front and back of packs, there is a need to examine whether descriptive emission statements could be enhanced by using graphics or symbols. Prohibition on Misleading Packaging Information Article 11 of the FCTC requires that misleading information on packages is prohibited. Article 11 states that …tobacco product packaging and labelling [shall] not promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression including any term, descriptor, trademark, figurative or any other sign that directly or indirectly creates the false impression that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products.
(WHO, 2008, p. 9) To date, more than 50 countries have banned words such as ��light,�� ��mild,�� and ��low tar�� from packages based on evidence that these terms are inherently misleading to consumers, many of whom incorrectly perceive these products to be less harmful and easier to quit (e.g., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). However, banning a small number of descriptors such as ��light�� and ��mild�� is insufficient to significantly reduce false beliefs about the risks of different cigarette brands (Borland et al., 2008; Hammond, Arnott, Dockrell, Lee, & McNeill, 2009; Mutti et al., 2011; Yong et al., 2011). One potential explanation for these findings is the wide range of other descriptors that remain in use, including words such as ��smooth��. In response, the list of prohibited terms has been expanded in countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, to include terms such as ��cool,�� ��extra,�� ��special,�� ��smooth,�� ��premium,�� and ��natural.�� The persistence of false beliefs may also be due Batimastat to other promotional aspects of the pack, including brand imagery and color.