East Timor requires picture warnings 85% front, 100% back, and progresses towards plain packaging

27 August 2018:

Congratulations to Timor-Leste (East Timor) for requiring a series of 6 picture warnings to appear on the top 85% on the front and 100% on the back of packages, effective September 6, 2018.  Thus at 92.5% Timor-Leste will have the world’s largest cigarette package health warnings as an average of the package front and back. The next largest warnings in the world are Nepal and Vanuatu at 90% (90% front, and 90% back).

In addition to the front and back, Timor-Leste also requires text warnings on 100% of the top end and 80% of the bottom end of the package (white text on a black background), with the text for these warnings the same as the text portion (other than quitline) on the package front and back (eg Fuma kauza pulmaun kroniku (translation: Smoking causes chronic lung disease)).  (The reference to the toll-free quitline number does not appear as part of the warning on the top end or bottom end of the package). On the right lateral side, toxic emission information is to cover 50% of the side (white text on black background). 

East Timor has also made substantial though not complete progress towards plain packaging. Here are packaging restrictions taking effect Sept. 6, 2018:

  • a base colour of aluminum gray is required for all parts of the package that are not required health messages (other countries requiring plain packaging have required a drab brown, Pantone 448C, as the base colour);
  • the brand name or logo can only appear on the bottom 15% of the package front (and not on any other side of the package), and must appear in white on the aluminum gray background;
  • the brand name may not convey messages about the product;
  • these packaging restrictions apply to all tobacco products;
  • because a logo is allowed and the brand name may appear in a stylized font, the requirements are not fully plain packaging.

Timor-Leste neighbours Indonesia, has a population of 1.3 million, has Portuguese and Tetun as official languages, and became an FCTC Party in 2004.

The Ministerial Statutory Order N° 10/2018 of May 9, Regulations for Labelling of Tobacco Products contains the requirements for package health warnings as well as other packaging restrictions. These regulations can be seen here:

https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/files/live/Timor-Leste/Timor-Leste%20-%20P%26L%20Regs%202018%20%28No.%2010_2018%29.pdf

This Ministerial Statutory Order replaces an earlier Order with similar requirements but that has now been repealed: Ministerial Statutory Order No. 2/2018 of January 10 on Regulations for Labeling of Tobacco Products.

https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/files/live/Timor-Leste/Timor-Leste%20-%20P%26L%20Regs%202018%20%28No.%202_2018%29.pdf

The Decree-Law No. 14/2016 of June 8 on the Tobacco Control Regime, which authorizes the regulations, can be seen here:

https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/files/live/Timor-Leste/Timor-Leste%20-%20Decree-Law%20No.%2014_2016.pdf