As per the Ministerial Regulations (MR) of the Ministry of Health on Plain Packaging of Cigarettes B.E. 2561 (2018) issued by virtue of Section 5, Paragraph 1, and Section 38, Paragraph 1, of the Tobacco Products Control Act B.E. 2560 (2017), the plain cigarette packaging law in Thailand is now in effect as of September 9, 2019. Thailand is the first country in Asia and the 11th country in the world to adopt this measure. The new MR has imposed the following specifications on the cigarette packaging:
• The name of the manufacturer/importer (in English or Thai) must all be in the same standard font. The font height must not be higher than 2mm. The color must be Pantone Cool Grey 2 C. It must be printed on the sides of the box with medium space.
• Warning photos must be printed on both sides of the box, and must be different photos. The photos must cover 85 percent of the packaging surface.
• The brand and the variant of the cigarette (in English or Thai) must all be in a standard font. The font height must not be higher than 4mm. The color must be Pantone Cool Grey 2 C. It must be printed in at least two spots (that is, back, front, top, bottom), but in no more than three spots. The background color must be Pantone opaque couché-Pantone 448 C.
• There must be one set (consisting of two warning messages) of health warning messages, with space on both sides of the box. The size of the messages must take up 60 percent of each side.
Thailand’s decision to enforce plain cigarette packaging law is in compliance with Clause 11 (Cigarette Packaging Control) and Clause 13 (Prohibition of Tobacco Advertisement) of the World Health Organization – Framework on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), in which Thailand is one of 181 member states. Businesses in Thailand have until December 8, 2019, to comply before facing penalties consisting of fines of up to THB 40,000 (US $1,300).
The main objective of this measure is to make cigarettes less attractive to current smokers and to discourage non-smokers from picking up the habit.
A version of this article first appeared in the INTA Bulletin Vol 74, No. 19.