Sticky seals in the packets of one brand of cigarettes are helping smokers cover up graphic health warnings. Graphic images of illnesses like gangrene, mouth cancer and lung disease must be printed on every packet of cigarettes to cover 30% of the front and 90% of the back of the pack.
ONE News looked at a range of cigarettes from a number of companies. Dunhill was the only product found with a seal inside the packet that can be stuck on the outside. It is labelled “exclusively Dunhill”. The sticky ‘reloc’ seal is just the size to cover health warnings. Michael Colhoun of Action on Smoking and Health says nothing about a tobacco packet is accidental and the sticky seals have been included deliberately. “This seems to be a brand marketing exercise,” he said.
Manufacturer British American Tobacco says its design is not intended to undermine the law. “We do not condone the practice of using one part of the pack designed for a particular purpose to hide those warnings,” the company said. It said the seal is simply for keeping cigarettes fresh.
One smoker said the sticker is “sneaky”. Some smokers said they will continue using the sticker to hide the images. Quitline says since the graphic images first appeared in 2008, numbers of calls to its helpline have increased. But there are websites and even how-to videos dedicated to showing smokers how to cover the pictures up.
This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.