Since 2004, the European Union has floated 42 different graphic warnings for member countries to stamp on their cigarettes. Belgium, the UK, and Romania were among the first to institute the photographic warnings; France fell in line in April of this year.
In 2009, researchers found that "French people no longer react to current text warnings because these messages are old and tired," but that "French society is more rigid, inflexible and probably less open to changes and thus, more resistant towards new graphic tobacco warnings." Respondents' perception of graphic warning labels hinged on design: An image of the "face of a woman and a skeleton" drew criticism due to a "lack of understanding and the image, which was judged too beautiful"; a photo of "a baby in an incubator" was deemed "relevant, credible and important."
Photo: Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.