One of the world’s smallest countries – Nepal – has taken a large step toward combating tobacco-related disease this week. Ninety percent of the surface area of all tobacco packaging must now be covered with harrowing images designed to warn consumers of the health consequences of tobacco use. The new law is the most stringent of any country, surpassing that passed by India two weeks ago which requires 85% coverage.

Graphic warnings are a proven deterrent to potential smokers and encourage users to quit. Nepal’s series of images depict mouth cancer, deformed foetuses and other documented consequences of tobacco use. They are a powerful tool for tobacco control, reaching whole populations, including those with low literacy rates and young people.

Nepal has taken a strong step to protect the health of its citizens,’ said Dr Tara Singh Bam, The Union’s technical advisor on tobacco control for Nepal. ‘Smokers are often unaware of the specific harms caused by tobacco use and can underestimate the risks to themselves and those around them.

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