Youth Groups urge withdrawal of lawsuit against Ministry of Public Health

Below is an open letter from Thai youth and student networks, addressed to Philip Morris International (Thailand) Ltd and Japan Tobacco International (Thailand) Ltd.

The Thai youth are urging the tobacco companies to withdraw a lawsuit against Thailand’s Ministry of Health. The companies are suing the ministry over a new regulation that would require the placing of graphic health warnings covering at least 85 percent of tobacco product packagings. The country’s youth networks find the lawsuit as a form of unjust harassment against a government agency tasked with protecting the health of the Thai people.

The letter also calls attention to how the tobacco industry in Thailand has already hurt the health of millions of Thais, precisely by peddling toxic products that, for decades, have been marketed with barely enough warning about its harmful effects.

August 1, 2013

Dear Manager of Philip Morris International (Thailand) Limited and Manger of Japan Tobacco International (Thailand) Limited

Subject: Request to withdraw the lawsuit against Ministry of Public Health, Thailand on the case of 85% pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages regulation

Due to the lawsuit filed by your company against Ministry of Public Health Thailand on the case of 85% pictorial health warning on cigarette packages regulation at the Administrative Court, we, the youth network for a better life of Thailand, would like to request you to withdraw this current lawsuit against the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.

We are well aware that you have the concern of decreased cigarette sales volume as a result of 85% pictorial health warnings regulation. This is because the new warning will provide clearer facts to consumers. In particular, it will raise awareness on Thai children and youth, who are your targets, not to initiate smoking. You should be fully aware that in 2011, there are already 2,200,000 Thai children and youth who are your current customers, not to include more than a million adult customers. Your company will continue to gain major profits from them in the next decades.

You may need to ask yourself whether your effort to avoid compliance to Thai domestic laws by filing the lawsuit against Ministry of Public Health in order to increase sales volume of your products that kill customers and invite more children and youth to become your customers in the replacement of those who already died or in illness, is ethical practice and should be praised in the success in business.

We believe that you are smart and wise enough to take into account ethical practice of your business and sales management. As a matter of fact, your company should initiate other business that benefits children and youth development including your own children. Youth always welcome new innovation but not for cigarettes that kill us.

On behalf of the youth network, we would like to request you to withdraw the lawsuit against the Ministry of Public Health Thailand on the case of 85% pictorial health warning on cigarette packages regulation, and if you still want to enjoy the benefit from selling deadly products, we would like to request you to follow the Tobacco Control Law of Thailand.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr.Chatchawan Monthatipkul, representative of Thai Youth Network
On behalf of the organizations as below:
Pak Dee Gang youth network,
Youth Network of Bangkok,
Youth Council of Satorn, Bangrak, Rajathevi, Watana, South Bangkok
Pharmacy Students ‘Union of Thailand,
Ya Mo Student in Public Health
Public Health and Health Sciences Students Association of Thailand,
Public health student, Network of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences Faculty Public Health Mahidol University,
Young Filmmakers of Thailand, Fongnom FILMS,
Network of Non Smoking generation /Teachers Networking for Smoke-Free Schools

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