In Brief

"Smoking can be harmful to your health." How do you visually depict that important warning? The Canadian government is using pictures of rotting teeth, cancerous lungs and damaged hearts and brains to drive the message home to smokers.

According to recent regulations, cigarette manufacturers must relinquish 50 percent of each cigarette pack to graphic--and downright grisly--representations of the health hazards of smoking. Research conducted by the Canadian government showed that warnings with pictures are 60 times more likely to persuade smokers to quit than text-only warnings. Health Canada, the federal department that enforces health regulations, develops policy and prevention efforts, and maintains the country's health insurance program, estimates that the new warnings will lead to a 3.5 percent drop in smoking by 2010. And in a country where 45,000 people die each year due to smoking, that's good news.

--J. DAW