Egypt's fledgling anti-tobacco program to place images and warnings on cigarette packs..

June 18, 2008 - Starting Aug. 1, 2008 cigarette labels in Egypt will be required to carry images of the effects of smoking: a dying man in an oxygen mask, a coughing child, and a limp cigarette symbolizing impotence. Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs is helping Egypt with the campaign. For the new label requirements, authorities field-tested a variety of images. They found that warnings linking tobacco with death were not particularly effective with Egyptians, since dying is perceived as inevitable anyway. Also, images of diseased lungs left people confused about what was being shown. Instead, the new warnings focus on threats to health and, particularly, to family, like the effect on children and pregnant women and the risk of impotence. The campaign faces a tough challenge among Egypt's die-hard smokers. Egyptians suck down an estimated 50 billion cigarettes a year, which according to the World Bank makes it the largest tobacco consumer in the Middle East and North Africa, accounting for nearly one fourth of total consumption in the region and the 17th-biggest tobacco market in the world. By law, the Eastern Company the state-owned cigarette-maker monopoly is the only company allowed to produce cigarettes in Egypt. References: Egypt to smokers: Smoking causes impotence, disease, GMA News TV, 6/16/2008 and A Joint Effort A venture between Eastern Company and British American Tobacco targets smokers sick of Cleopatras and too broke for Marlboros, by July 2004. Dirt-cheap (50 cents US/pack)Cleopatras remains the the dominant brand in Egypt, accounting for over 60 percent of total consumption. In 2005 Egypt ratified the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty. Related news briefs: March 4, 2008, December 6, 2007 and August 29, 2007. Twelve countries, including Canada, Jordan, Brazil and Thailand, require graphic photos of the effects of smoking to be printed on cigarette packs — and many have reported success in at least reminding smokers of the danger. Click on image to enlarge..