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Public Health

Pictorial health warnings under Directive 2001/37/EC

Please note that the EU picture library has now been updated and this page relates to the health warnings under Directive 2001/37/EC.

The Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC) introduced new health messages to be put on tobacco products and dramatically increased the size of the warnings.

The Directive set out two general warnings – "Smoking kills" and "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" – and 14 additional warnings, to be placed on the front and back of each pack.

Pictorial health warnings

In March 2012, following the results of a qualitative Eurobarometer and discussions with Member States, the Commission adopted a Directive proposing 14 renewed text warnings for use on tobacco-product packaging:

While the text warnings have been a success, it appeared it was important to reinforce and amplify the messages by complementing them with graphics:

  • Combined warnings designed for use in each Member State: in May 2005, the Commission adopted a library of 42 colour photographs and other illustrations – three for each of the additional health warnings. This way, Member States can choose the images best suited to their population. Evidence from countries where pictorial warnings have already been introduced shows that images have a greater impact than text warnings alone.
  • Reference documents: Flash Eurobarometer 253 (March 2009): Survey on Tobacco. Analytical report + Summary (prepared by SANCO)

Overview of the combined warnings designed for use in each Member State

Czec RepublicMalta
HungaryThe Netherlands
IrelandUnited Kingdom

High resolution pictures