Thailand has become the first country in Asia, and the first low- and middle-income country, to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.
The move comes at a time when figures show an estimated one out of every five Thai adults smokes, while one out of every six Thai teenagers aged between 13-17 years uses tobacco.
Under new legislation, from September 2019, packaging on all tobacco products will not feature logos, colours, brand images or promotional information other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has commended the new tobacco control 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 wellbeing of its people,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia.
Australia was the first country to introduce rules requiring plain standardised packaging of tobacco products back in 2012. Since then a number of other countries have introduced plain packaging including France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has also recently announced plans to introduce plain packaging.