Graphic warnings on cigarette packs have long been used as a source of deterrent, but their effects tend to fade with time, which is one of the reasons the government changes warning labels, a government representative said.
“The frequent changes of warning photos on smoking packs might lead smokers to quit smoking,” Hatim Azroui, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MoH), told The Jordan Times.
Stressing the “danger” of smoking habits, Azroui said the ministry is trying to find ways to make it “difficult” for Jordanians to smoke by making public and tourist areas smoke-free zones.
Changing the pictures on cigarette packs every five years is also a mandate, according to an agreement of which Jordan is a part of with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The warning pictures should occupy more than 50 per cent of the pack’s size, on both sides, and contain direct language, according to WHO’s guidelines.
Director of Health Communication and Media Directorate at the MoH Abeer Mowaswas said, “Changing the warning pictures is a deterrent if you design it to depict the family of the smoker and how smoking affects children and pregnant women.”
The ministry representative said they were not just relying on warning labels to drive awareness but had “launched several awareness campaigns through different channels and recently on social media”.
“The MoH is also collaborating with the Ministry of Tourism and Restaurant Owners Association to restrict smoking to specified areas,” Mowaswas concluded.
Despite the laws and awareness campaigns, 70.2 per cent of Jordanian adult males reported being smokers in 2015, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators.
For Azroui “the enforcement of the law prohibiting smoking in public places could decrease the percentage of smokers, through liaison officers, but it should be a collaborative effort”.
“We encourage all citizens to use our hotline to complain once they notice smoking activity in a public area, and the law should also be enforced by the government institutions and those in charge,” he continued.
Smoking is classified as a disease according to WHO. “Our efforts to help smokers quit extends to launching five clinics, offering free treatment and follow-up programmes to smokers,” Mowaswas concluded.