Plain tobacco packaging by September 2019

The Thai government has made a new legislative announcement regarding plain packaging for cigarette packets, making it the first country in Asia, and first low and middle-income country to do so.

This legislation adds to the 2017 Tobacco Control Act, which currently mandates an individual must be 20 or older to purchase tobacco, bans tobacco advertising in the media, sponsorship, promotion or single stick sales.

As per the new legislation all tobacco products will have plain packaging by September 2019.

Australia was the first country to introduce plain packaging in 2012. A decision met by much opposition at the time from Tobacco companies.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris even tried to sue the Australian government over the limitations on packaging. Australia won the case in an international court and Philip Morris was ordered to pay for the government’s legal fees. This set a precedent in which other countries started to adopt the plain packaging.

In Thailand, graphic health warnings already cover 85% of the cigarette packets, but authorities don’t believe the impact has been high enough as yet. With over 11 million smokers in Thailand – one out of every five adults smokes – and over half men aged 35 to 54 do too.

Concern is now with the younger generation, as 1 in 6 young Thais use tobacco between the ages of 13 to 17.

On Wednesday the World Health Organisation (WHO) praised Thailand for bringing in stronger tobacco control measures, reflecting the country’s continuous efforts to promote well-being and health to its people.

While we wait to see the new plain packaging legislation come into effect we share with you John Oliver’s segment about tobacco from three years ago.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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