(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), at its Thirty-Fifth Meeting held in Guyana, made an historic decision by adopting the Regional Standard for the Labeling of Retail Packages of Tobacco Products as presented by the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ). All Member States present at the Thirty-Fifth COTED Meeting voted in favour of the Regional Standard. CARICOM Member States have now taken a major step in meeting a significant obligation under Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to which most Member States are signatories and which entered into force in February 2005. Article 11 calls on countries which are a party to the Convention, within a period of three years after entry into force, to adopt and implement effective measures to ensure tobacco packages are labelled according to guidelines developed by the WHO FCTC Secretariat.

The Convention calls for parties to, among other requirements, implement rotating health warnings on tobacco packaging that covers at least 30 per cent - ideally 50 per cent - of the display areas, which may include pictures or pictograms. In adopting the Regional Standard on Tobacco Labeling, CARICOM countries would have met this important obligation.

In so doing, CARICOM Member States have also met the related obligation under the Port-of-Spain Declaration (2007) on Non–Communicable Diseases. All manufacturers, importers, retailers and other entities engaged in the production and or trade of tobacco products within any Member State of CARICOM need to comply with the Regional Standards.