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Thailand introduces “plain” tobacco packaging

Jack Burton

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Thailand has earned praise from The World Health Organisation over its latest efforts to make smoking less enticing. They commended the roll-out of “plain” cigarette packaging this week. Cigarette packets are now much less attractive under the new regulations approved by the National Tobacco Products Control Committee.

But the new “plain’ packaging is anything but plain, including graphic images of the hazards of smoking, and no cigarette company logos (with the name in a plain font). The new standardised packaging became compulsory on December 9.

The head of the Department of Disease Control says Thailand’s stance against promoting tobacco “drew praise from the international community at a health conference in Bangkok”.

“Thailand is the first country in Asia to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, demonstrating the country’s efforts to promote public health and well being.”

The Health Minister says that the introduction of plain packaging made Thailand the first country in Asia and the eleventh in the world to adopts this kind of ‘negative’ packaging to discourage cigarette smoking. Australia was the first country to enforce plain packaging; the most recent country was Mauritius.

Shops now found selling packets with the old packaging can be fined up to 40,000 baht under the law.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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