Thailand has become the first country in Asia to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.
Plain packaging is an evidence-based policy being advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
It restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging to protect people against health and socio-economic impact of tobacco use.
The new law adds to the Tobacco Control Act 2017 that enforces 20 years as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco. The act bans single-stick sales, tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship across the country.
Commenting on the announcement, WHO South-East Asia regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “Thailand’s bold steps against tobacco, the single most important cause of preventable deaths worldwide, is commendable and reflects the country’s earnest efforts in promoting health and well-being of its people.”
The new legislation mandates all tobacco products to have plain packaging by September, which is expected to increase the country’s tobacco control efforts.
Thailand has also mandated graphic health warnings covering 85% of tobacco product packaging.
Singh noted that WHO will support Thailand along with other member countries to combat the present and future impact of tobacco on people.
In a separate development, The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has informed manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to be prepared for applying plain packaging on all forms of tobacco products.
Plain packaging influences smokers’ intention to quit, reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products and limits misleading packaging / labelling.