ASEAN countries among top 25 countries worldwide with standardized tobacco packaging and largest pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs

Panama City, 6 February: The latest Cigarette Package Health Warnings report by the Canadian Cancer Society reveals increasing global progress on pictorial health warnings (PHW) and standardized packaging on cigarettes. Three ASEAN countries are among 28 countries and territories that have adopted standardized tobacco packaging, up from only six countries in 2018 and 18 countries in 2021. Fourteen more countries are actively moving ahead with this measure. 

Thailand and Singapore were the first Asian countries to implement standardized packaging for tobacco products. Myanmar could have been the third but recently delayed implementation of the law for a third time due to tobacco industry lobbying. 
Thailand and Singapore mandate standardized packaging for cigarette packages. More information here: https://tobaccolabels.seatca.org/category/health-warnings/

More countries around the world are also adopting larger PHW on cigarette packages. The report notes that 138 countries and jurisdictions now require PHW on cigarette packages. The world’s largest PHW (85% on the front and 100% on the back of the package) are required by Timor-Leste and Turkey.

Five ASEAN countries are among the top 25 countries worldwide with the largest pictorial health warnings. Thailand leads ASEAN with 85% pictorial warnings, followed by Brunei, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Singapore requiring a warning size of 75%, while other ASEAN countries have smaller warnings. ASEAN is the only region with all Member States to have implemented pictorial health warnings.

Health warnings on individual cigarettes are now required in Canada, and this will be fully implemented in 2024. Australia has also announced that it will implement this measure. 

The report highlights that pictorial-based warnings are more effective than text-based ones, and larger PHWs are also more effective because they are more visible and can arrest and hold attention better. 

“A picture paints a thousand words, and large pictorial health warnings are a cost-effective way to communicate tobacco harms. Standardized tobacco packaging also prevents the tobacco industry from using attractive and flashy packaging to disguise its deadly products and market them to youths,” noted SEATCA Executive Director Dr Ulysses Dorotheo.

Contact Information: 
Val Bugnot, Media and Communications Manager, SEATCA 
Email: val@seatca.org
Mobile: +63917312460

About SEATCA
SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance promoting health and saving lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control in Southeast Asia, the WHO bestowed on SEATCA the World No Tobacco Day Award in 2004 and the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2014.

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