Cigarettes are to be sold only in plain packages in Thailand to discourage smoking, under new regulations approved by the National Tobacco Products Control Committee.
Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayathorn says that the plain packaging will replace all current packaging.
Current guidelines have been used for more than five years and have become ‘familiar’ with smokers to the extent that it is ‘no longer effective’ in discouraging people from smoking or making people recognise the health threats from cigarette smoking, Piyasakol said.
He says the plain packaging will be standard and applied to all brands of cigarettes and colourful or appealing packaging will not be allowed as it is regarded as marketing of cigarettes.
The minister says that the introduction of plain packaging would make Thailand the first country in Asia and the 11th in the world to adopt this kind of ‘negative’ packaging to discourage cigarette smoking. Australia was the first country to enforce plain packaging and the most recent country was Mauritius.
Dr Chayanan Sitthiboot, director of the Tobacco Consumption Control Office, says cigarette manufacturers have one year to prepare for the new packaging.