(20 October, Bangkok) The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) congratulates Myanmar for mandating standardized packaging for tobacco products, becoming the third Asian country after Thailand and Singapore to adopt this life-saving measure. The Ministry of Health issued the Standardized Packaging Notification on 12 October 2021.
The new Notification requires that all outer surfaces of tobacco packages (box, case, cartons, and others) are a standardized dull dark brown color and be flat, smooth, and without any decorative shape, texture, or element, that brand names be printed in a standardized font type and size, and that all inner package surfaces be a plain white color. This requirement is in addition to the currently required pictorial health warnings that occupy 75% of outer top front and back surfaces.
The new rule on standardized packaging for tobacco products in Myanmar is set to take effect on 12 April 2021 with a ninety-day phase out of old cigarette packaging by 12 July 2022.
Standardized packaging and pictorial warnings in Singapore and Thailand
Australia first required standardized or plain packaging in 2012 in compliance with Articles 11 and 13 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to prohibit the use of logos, colors, images, and other elements other than brand names and uniform colors and fonts.
“By adopting this global standard of tobacco packaging, Myanmar is applying a cost-effective public health measure that not only effectively reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products and the ability of tobacco product packaging to mislead consumers about tobacco harms, but also eliminates tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and increases the noticeability and effectiveness of current pictorial health warnings,” said SEATCA Executive Director Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, acknowledging this tobacco control milestone.
“This will reduce youth initiation to tobacco use by restricting the tobacco industry’s ability to market to young people, encourage quitting among current tobacco users, and help prevent ex-smokers from relapsing,” Dr Dorotheo added.
Across the world, 20 countries have adopted standardized packaging, while at least 14 more countries and territories are working to move forward with this measure.
Val Bugnot, Media and Communications Officer, SEATCA
- Packaging Design Analysis to Support Standardised Packaging in the ASEAN
- SEATCA Resource Center: Article 11: Packaging and Labelling
- Advancing Tobacco Plain and Standardized Packaging in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Advice from Experts
- Tobacco plain packaging: Global Status Update
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.