Analysing compliance of cigarette packaging with the FCTC and national legislation in eight former Soviet countries

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Abstract

Aim

To analyse compliance of cigarette packets with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and national legislation and the policy actions that are required in eight former Soviet Union countries.

Methods

We obtained cigarette packets of each of the 10 most smoked cigarette brands in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. The packets were then analysed using a standardised data collection instrument. The analysis included the placing, size and content of health warning labels and deceptive labels (eg, ‘Lights’). Findings were assessed for compliance with the FCTC and national legislation.

Results

Health warnings were on all packets from all countries and met the FCTC minimum recommendations on size and position except Azerbaijan and Georgia. All countries used a variety of warnings except Azerbaijan. No country had pictorial health warnings, despite them being mandatory in Georgia and Moldova. All of the countries had deceptive labels despite being banned in all countries except Russia and Azerbaijan where still no such legislation exists.

Conclusions

Despite progress in the use of health warning messages, gaps still remain—particularly with the use of deceptive labels. Stronger surveillance and enforcement mechanisms are required to improve compliance with the FCTC and national legislation.

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