Health ministry stands firm on expanded warning on cigarette packets


BANGKOK, June 27 – Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong insisted that the latest Thai tobacco regulation which requires 85 per cent of space on cigarette packets dedicated to health warning is appropriate.

He was referring to a move by US-based tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris and more than 1,400 Thai retailers to sue the ministry in the Administrative Court over the new rule.

The regulation, to take effect October 2, compels manufacturers to print warning messages and images on 85 per cent, an increase from 55 per cent, of space on the front and back panels of a cigarette packet.

Dr Pradit said retailers are banned from displaying cigarette packets in their shops but that the expanded smoking warning should not negatively impact their sales.

Manufacturers should bear in mind that their increased revenues are tantamount to Thai people’s deteriorating health, he said, adding that the Public Health Ministry has followed every single regulation to prevent external intervention to its policy to control cigarette consumption.

It depends on the court’s judgement, he concluded.

The Thai Tobacco Trade Association and Philip Morris plan to file a lawsuit with the court to invalidate the Public Health’s decision by next Thursday.

Thailand and Australia are among the countries with the largest anti-smoking health warnings in the world.