Pictures of rotting lungs, miscarried foetuses and bleeding brains should be put on all tobacco packages as they are effective in preventing tobacco use, the World Health Organisation said Friday.
"Today, WHO urged governments to require that all tobacco packages include pictorial warnings to show the sickness and suffering caused by tobacco use," said the UN health agency in a statement.
Graphic warnings showing illnesses caused by tobacco have been put on cigarette packagings in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand.
Studies have indicated that they help smokers to quit, according to the UN health agency, which launched its own explicit poster campaign for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
"Effective health warnings, especially those that include pictures, have been proven to motivate users to quit and to reduce the appeal of tobacco for those who are not yet addicted," said the WHO.
However, the WHO noted that nine out of 10 people in the world have no access to such warnings.
"This represents a tragic underuse of a simple, cost-effective strategy that can vastly reduce tobacco use and save lives," said Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
The WHO estimates that tobacco kills more than five million people every year.
"In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to divert attention from the deadly effects of its products," said Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative.
"Health warnings on tobacco packages can be a powerful tool to illuminate the stark reality of tobacco use," he added.