Saint Lucia authorities have introduced new rules to make it mandatory for cigarette labels to include a graphic pictorial warning.
Facts about the harmful effects of smoking will also be included on every cigarette box.
The Head of Compliance at the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS), Hubert Reynolds, told St Lucia Times that there is general agreement that pictorial warnings are more effective than only words.
“They would have a bigger impact on new smokers than just a word warning,” Reynolds stated.
He told St Lucia Times that the momentum worldwide has been to move towards graphic warnings.
According to the SLBS official, the new standard for graphic pictorial warning labels was implemented on Wednesday, August 16.
However he said the SLBS expects that there will be a lot of old labels on the market, so that the new labels should be in evidence in about six months.
“We have taken an open approach where we will monitor stock levels at the various warehouses and when those stocks are diminished or completed then we will enforce – what will be on the market should be only those carrying the new label,” Reynolds noted.
He explained that while he did not at the time have specific information for Saint Lucia, reports indicate that in other countries children as young as ten years old are tobacco smokers.
“It has become a big problem because obviously they become addicted and it gets more difficult for them to quit – I am assuming it would be the same here in Saint Lucia, especially since the way our laws are, they are not really being enforced in terms of selling cigarettes to underage children,’ the Head of Compliance at the SLBS said.