China Puts Skulls on Cigarette Packs, Bypasses Toys For Now

China’s had such a bad safety record lately that it’s a little surprising to find out their latest plans for health warnings on packs of cigarettes: skulls, blackened teeth, and diseased lungs, covering at least 30% of the pack’s surface area. The move is an attempt to curb the growing market of smokers in the country, where the average age of people who start smoking is as low as 10 in some areas.

Youth expert Zhao Cuiping says the skull idea isn’t so good if you’re trying not to attract teens: “In analysis over the past decade on what young people like, they far prefer skulls and other scary images to cats or dogs.” However, a CNN article from 2002 says the graphic warnings have been successful in Canada.

Just yesterday, we saw a teen girl with a pink rhinestone skull-and-crossbones on her bag, but to be fair, we have yet to see any bedazzled lung tumors. Maybe the next generation will take that up.

China cigarette packs to get skull health warnings [Reuters]

List of countries that have picture-based health warnings
(Photo: Chris Walters)