Thailand to be Asia's first to enforce plain cigarette packs

A dummy cigarette pack with plain packaging is shown at the Disease Control Department ahead of a World No Tobacco Day campaign. (File photo)

The Public Health Ministry on Wednesday approved a draft regulation requiring plain cigarette packaging, and will also change the compulsory pictures reinforcing the warning that smoking is hazardous to health.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said the approval came from the ministry's national tobacco control committee, which he chairs.

Cigarette packs would not be allowed to show brand logos, colours or promotional text. 

Thailand would be the first Asian nation and 11th country in the world to introduce plain cigarette packaging, Dr Piyasakol said. He did not say when. 

The first country to introduce plain packaging was Australia in 2012.

Dr Piyasakol said the pictures currently in use on packets enforcing the warning that smoking is a health hazard would also be changed.

They had been in use for five years and people might be overly familiar with them, reducing their effectiveness.

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