Additional information on designing effective emission and constituent messages is available at: http://www.tobaccolabels.ca/toolkit. The following provides a brief summary of key points not addressed in the Guidelines for Article 11
Size & Position
Emission and constituent messages are typically located on one side of the package. Many jurisdictions have used the entire side, up to the point where the package separates for “flip-top” packages, to avoid cutting off the text information.
As with health warnings, it is important to ensure high contrast between the wording and t he background. White letters on black background or black letters on white background are the most effective combinations. The font size should be sufficiently large to be legible.
Use of Symbols and Pictures
The most consistent finding from both quant it at ive and qualit at ive research conducted among tens of thousands of smokers throughout the world is that pictures enhance the effectiveness of health warnings. The same principles that have been adopted in designing the primary health warning messages should be applied to the toxic and constituent message on the side of packages: use pictures to attract attention and improve risk comprehension.
Content of Messages
There are two main approaches to designing effective emission and constituent messages. The first is to include a general statement about the range of toxic or dangerous substances. For example, Australian messages mention “more than 40 harmful chemicals”, while the Brazilian messages mention “4,700 toxic substances.” Focus group testing suggests that this may be an effective way to communicate the magnitude of toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke. These messages can be improved by adding a second sentence that refers to specific health effects. The second approach is to identify specific chemicals in constituents or emissions. Previous research suggests that the most common recommendation for improving the side messages was explaining the harmful effects of the chemicals found in cigarettes.