This site is intended for health professionals only

Grim images used to warn smokers

Cigarette packets are to feature graphic pictures of throat cancer and rotting teeth from next month to highlight the health risks associated with smoking.

The Department of Health (DH) said some of the images smokers will see include rotting lungs, a corpse in a morgue and a body cut open during surgery.

The UK is the first country in the EU to introduce the photo warnings, which will be manufactured on cigarette packets from 1 October.

The warnings will extend to all cigarette packets by October 2009 and other tobacco products from October 2010.

The photos will appear on the back of packets accompanied by a written health warning.

They replace the previous warnings introduced in January 2003, although the messages "Smoking kills" and "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" will continue to appear on the front of packets.

New figures showed that written warnings had motivated more than 90,000 smokers to call the NHS Smoking Helpline, the DH said.

However, smoking is still the biggest killer in England, where it causes the premature death of more than 87,000 people each year.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "I welcome the introduction of picture warnings on tobacco product packaging, which show smokers the grim reality of the effects smoking can have on their health."

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Department of Health

Do you think that these images will encourage more people to quit smoking? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"No … very few pay any attention to what is written on the packet … and those who do are simply desensitised to them, so the shock value is of very limited value." - Lynette M, London

"I have long believed that the nonsmoking adverts should be somewhat gruesome to be effective. I do not know if I will have the opportunity to see the new packets as I do not smoke and neither do my friends. This type of warning is long overdue." - V Henry, London