Japan Tobacco Tries to Stop Thailand Actions over Cigarette Warnings

July 9th, 2013 00:00

"Camel maker, Japan Tobacco filed a legal action in the Administrative Court on June 19 to stop the plan," company's representative Hisashi Sekiguchi mentioned in an interview on Monday.

The given action infringes Thailand's constitutional terms promising freedom of expression, the Tokyo-based company stated. The innovative legislation supported the Public Health Ministry and anti-smoking campaigners demands the health graphic warnings on cigarette packages to cover 85% of the package area, higher from the present 55%, in an attempt to further lessen smoking. The new rules were posted in the local Royal Gazette and will become efficient 180 days after that, or already on October. The size of the health graphics will make it the world's biggest graphic warnings on cigarette packages, topping Australia, which requires 82.5% coverage.


All cigarette manufacturers or importers have to make use of graphics offered by the Disease Control Department, which has set 10 designs. They are also recommended to depict an advertisement for the 1600 hotline for those who would like to stop smoking.

The Thai Tobacco Trade Association (TTTA), a team of more than 1,400 suppliers, wholesalers and sellers, and the Philip Morris Thailand unit will file distinct legal cases prior to July 4 with the court. TTTA executive manager Varaporn Namatra stated the legislation will lead to challenges for retailers, which include bigger operational costs. They point out it will also probably lead to a consumer move towards lower cost roll-your-own tobacco which are not covered by the new graphic warning regulations, and already comprises around 50% of all tobacco sold in Thailand.
Onanong Pratakphiriya, a representative for Philip Morris (Thailand), reported: "Taking into account detrimental effects this policy will result in on our trademarks and packaging, and the truth that the ministry disregarded our voices and the voices of thousands of suppliers in passing this guideline, we have no alternative but to request the court to get involved in."

Pornthep Siriwanarangsun, manager of the department, reported she was ready to struggle the lawsuit. She stated that the TTTA had their own right to start a lawsuit against the ministry however the ministry has the legal power to set the cigarette package rules. "It is for the safety of people's health," she mentioned. "We aren't worried about the law suits."

The given action comes in conformity with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which permits the ministry to put into action the action without getting comments from tobacco dealers, Dr Pornthep stated. The National Statistic Office's records indicate that 11.5 million people aged 15 years old in Thailand lighted up in 2011, or about 21.4% of the population. Of the entire, 9.9 million of them - 86% - are male.

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