Traders oppose cigarette warning plan

The Thai Tobacco Trade Association is opposed to the Public Health Ministry's plan to require the world's largest graphic warning on cigarette packs, because it would affect small traders nationwide, association executive Varaporn Namat said on Friday.

The ministry last week said it plans to change the law and enlarge the graphic warning on cigarette packs to cover 85% of the space, larger than the current 55% which has been effective since 2010.

The proposal aims to curb the rise in numbers of people smoking cigarettes. It will be discussed again in two months.

Photo courtesy of the Thai Health Organisation

If the plan is approved, Thailand would have the world's largest graphic warning on cigarette packs, surpassing Australia where they cover 82.5% of the space on packets.

Ms Varaporn said such a large graphic warning would provide no space for tobacco producers to provide information about the products. The 480,000 small traders nationwide would then have problems managing their stock and communicating with customers.

There was also no consultation with the private sector about this change, she said. However, ministry officials met with the Thailand Anti Tobacco Committee on Feb 1. 

She said the association agreed with initiatives to control smoking, but private sector wants participation on the introduction of new measures.

The association was of the view measure should not be too extreme or cause damage to retailers. 

Thailand first introduced written warnings on the sides of packs in 1974 then expanded it to the front and the back of the packages. The kingdom introduced graphic warnings on packs in 2005, the fourth country in the world to require such a warning.

Related search: Thai Tobacco Trade Association, cigarette health warning, graphic health warning, Thailand health

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