Saudi Arabia to implement plain packaging on tobacco products

18 December 2018
Compelo Staff Writer 

In a groundbreaking step for tobacco control, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority has adopted plain packaging on tobacco products.

Image: Saudi Arabia is set to implement plain packaging on tobacco products.
Photo: courtesy of WHO.

Saudi Arabia is taking the preventive step with the support of WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, and is in line with WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its guidelines.

The plain tobacco package will show brand names and product names in a standard color and font style. It will help avoid the use of logos, colors and brand images or promotional information inside and outside the packaging.

The plain package will help influence the intention to quit for smokers and reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, as well restricts the use of tobacco packaging in the form of tobacco advertising and promotion.

It will also help limit misleading packaging and labeling and enhance the effectiveness of health warnings.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Saudi Arabia is one of the first few countries across the globe to implement plain packaging.

From 1 May 2019, manufacturers and importers of tobacco products must implement plain packaging on tobacco products.

The regulator will take appropriate legal action on the firms that fail to comply with the conditions.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has issued a model plain package to prepare all manufacturers and importers implement plain packaging on cigarette and waterpipe products, as well as all other products, smoked and smokeless.

Model plain package will help understand specifics on the standard color and font style, as well as sample health warnings to be integrated onto the packs.

This measure is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s tobacco control agenda, which is aligned with its 2030 vision to promote public health.

WHO also noted that Thailand is the first nation in Asia to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products.

All tobacco products will feature plain packaging by September 2019, as per Thailand’s new legislation.