Thailand has become the first country in Asia to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.
The new law restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information other than brand names and product names. As per the legislation, all tobacco products in Thailand will have plain packaging by September 2019.
It adds to the Tobacco Control Act 2017, which enforces a minimum age of 20 years to buy tobacco products, bans single stick sale and prohibits tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship. The new legislation also expands on the existing mandate to use graphic health warnings to cover 85 percent of the product packaging.
According to the World Health Organization, Thailand has 11 million smokers with an estimated one out of every five adult smoking.
Multiple studies confirmed that plain packaging makes tobacco products less attractive, reduces average smoking prevalence and increases the effectiveness of health warnings, with more smokers attempting to quit after its implementation.
The WHO commended the measures. “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,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.