MPH to increase the warning label size on cigarette package

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Bangkok, 22 May 2013, Deputy Public Health Minister Dr. Chonlanan Srikeaw has announced the ministry new anti-smoking campaign to observe the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, while introducing new law to impose bigger warning label on cigarette package.

This year’s slogan for the World No Tobacco Day is “Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship.”

Attending the press conference were Dr. Nima Asgari of the World Health Organization Country Office, Director General of the Thai Health Promotion Institute Dr. Hathai Shitanont , and Secretary General of the Action for Smoking and Health Foundation Thailand Professor Dr. Prakit Wateesatokkit

According to Deputy Minister Dr. Chonlanan, the new law, which will be implemented on October 2, stipulates that cigarette warning label must cover 85% of the package. Dr. Chonlanan expressed his strong belief that the campaign would significantly help phasing out smoking and reducing the number of new smokers.

He said researches have pointed out that warning labels have made a significant psychological impact on smokers, with 71% of smokers saying the labels made them realize the danger of smoking, and 63% claiming the labels encouraged them to quit.

The new law also stipulates that violators are subject to up to 100,000 baht fine for the producer, and 20,000 baht fine for retailers who fail to display the warning labels.

World Health Organization has indicated that more than 6 million people worldwide die from smoking each year, including 50,000 in Thailand.

Local statistics pointed out that, in 2011, over 11 million of Thais 15 years old and up smoked cigarettes, accounting for 21 per cent of the population. Statistics also indicated that Thais started to smoke at a much younger age now than before, with the average age of new smokers being 16.2 years old.