FCTC Article 11 Guidelines

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FCTC Article 11 (Packaging and labelling of tobacco products)

1. Each Party shall, within a period of three years after entry into force of this Convention for that Party, adopt and implement, in accordance with its national law, effective measures to ensure that:

(a) tobacco product packaging and labelling do not promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions, 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. These may include terms such as “low tar”, “light”, “ultra-light”, or “mild”; and

(b) each unit packet and package of tobacco products and any outside packaging and labelling of such products also carry health warnings describing the harmful effects of tobacco use, and may include other appropriate messages.

These warnings and messages:

(i) shall be approved by the competent national authority,
(ii) shall be rotating,
(iii) shall be large, clear, visible and legible,
(iv) should be 50% or more of the principal display areas but shall be no less than 30% of the principal display areas,
(v) may be in the form of or include pictures or pictograms.

2. Each unit packet and package of tobacco products and any outside packaging and labelling of such products shall, in addition to the warnings specified in paragraph 1(b) of this Article, contain information on relevant constituents and emissions of tobacco products as defined by national authorities.

3. Each Party shall require that the warnings and other textual information specified in paragraphs 1(b) and paragraph 2 of this Article will appear on each unit packet and package of tobacco products and any outside packaging and labelling of such products in its principal language or languages.

4. For the purposes of this Article, the term “outside packaging and labelling” in relation to tobacco products applies to any packaging and labelling used in the retail sale of the product.


Guidelines for Implementation of Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 

(Packaging and Labeling of Tobacco Products)

At its third session in November 2008, the Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted guidelines for implementation of Article 11 of the WHO FCTC on the packaging and labelling of tobacco products (decision FCTC/COP3(10)). These guidelines are available from the WHO FCTC website (http://who.int/fctc/protocol/guidelines/adopted/article_11/en/index.html).


 “The guidelines are intended to help Parties to meet their obligations under the respective provisions of the Convention. They reflect the consolidated views of Parties on different aspects of implementation, their experiences and achievements, and the challenges faced. The guidelines also aim to reflect and promote best practices and standards that governments would benefit from in the treaty-implementation process.”
Dr. Haik Nikogosian
Head of the Convention Secretariat
from the Foreword of the WHO FCTC Guidelines for Implementation of Articles 5.3, 8, 9 and 10, 11, 12, 13,and 14 (2011)