Smokers are more likely to recall larger warnings, and have been found to equate the size of the warning with the magnitude of the risk. 23-29 A Phillip Morris document also highlights the importance of positioning on the front of packages: “Government required warnings placed on the largest packaging panel, often called the front and/or back, are the biggest marketing threat to all of us in Asia…”14 Features that distinguish the warning messages from the package design have also been found to increase the salience and recall of warnings.30 Messages with contrasting colours, such as black lettering on a white background are the easiest to read, whereas the legibility of silver or gold text is comparatively poor.
Current International Best Practice
Uruguay currently has the largest health warnings in the world. Their pictorial warnings cover 80% of the front and back of packages. In Mauritius, warnings cover 60% of front, and 70% of back, whereas countries such as Australia have implemented warnings on 90% of the back and 30% of the front of packages. In 1992 Thailand issued regulation on textual health warnings. Since there was no evidence to determine whether white letter on black background or black letter on white background was more effective, tobacco companies were given a choice. No company chose black letter on white background. Their action indicated that white letter on black background is more effective. Subsequent change in regulation mandated tobacco companies to use white letter on black background only.