SEATCA provides constant technical expertise and support to ASEAN Member States in developing and implementing of effective health warnings policies in compliance with World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Article 11 Guidelines. The Guidelines on Article 11  (packaging and labelling on tobacco products) was adopted at the third session of the FCTC Conference of Parties (COP 3) in November 2008.

With SEATCA support, all ten ASEAN countries have legislated pictorial health warnings (PHWs) on cigarette packages. Thailand has adopted 85% PHWs, the largest warning size since 2014. Four other countries (Brunei, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Singapore (July 2020)) require warnings size (75%).

Thailand and Singapore are the first two Asian countries that have legislated standardized packaging, which eliminated all promotional aspects of packaging including brand colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages, effective on 10 September 2019 and 1 July 2020 respectively. Singapore will soon has 75% PHWs on the package surface, up from the current 50% (introduced since 2004).

Malaysia and Philippines have taken initiatives to consider standardized packaging measures. As of July 2019, more than 30 countries and territories moving forward with standardized packaging, with 16 countries having adopted the measure following Australia’s lead (in 2012) and at least 15 other countries are in varying stages of introducing standardized packaging laws.

Nine ASEAN countries have banned the use of misleading descriptors such as “light” and “mild” on any tobacco product packages. Six countries gave less than 10 months to the tobacco industry to comply with pictorial health warnings. The PHWs are applied to all shapes and forms of tobacco packaging.

The ASEAN region’s PHWs images are shared and copyright-free images can be obtained through the ASEAN image bank and sharing mechanism facilitated by SEATCA.

For more information, please refer to SEATCA FCTC Article 11 Index.

Implementation timeline of latest set of pictorial health warnings/ standardized packaging in ASEAN
 
Country Year of implementation- Round of rotation Size (%) and location (front & back) Date of approval Date of
implementation
Number of rotating current health warnings Duration of industry compliance
2008, 2012 Top 75%, 75% 13 Mar
2012
1 Sept 2012 7 less than 6 months

2016, 2018, 2021

Top 55%, 55% 10 Nov 2020 1 Aug 2021 2 9 months 
2014, 2019 Top 40%, 40% 11 Jan
2018
1 Jan 2019 5 12 months

2016*

Top 75%, 75% 23 May
2016 
1 Jan 2018 6 19 months 
2009, 2014 Top 50%, 60% 11 Jun
2013
1 Jan 2014 12 Less than 7 months
2016**, 2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021 Top 75%, 75% Sept 2020  1 Sept 2021  10 12 months  

2016, 2018, 2020

Bottom 50%, 50% 20 Mar 2019 4 Mar 2020  12 12 months 
2004, 2006, 2013, 2020*** Top 50%, 50% 1 Jul 2019 1 Jul 2020 6 12 months
2005, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2019**** Top 85%, 85% 13 Dec
2018
10 Sept 2019 10 9 months
2013 Top 50%, 50% 8 Feb
2013
8 Aug 2013 for soft packs,
8 Dec 2013 for hard packs
6 6-10 months
*The full implementation of PHWs was delayed due to strong tobacco industry interference. Tobacco industry was given three times extension deadline from 1 October 2016 and the new implementation date effective on 1 January 2018 (a total of 19 months grace period after Pictorial Health Warnings Regulation was legislated in May 2016. 
**Myanmar requires 10 PHWs, only one is to be printed every 12 months beginning on 1 September 2016.
***Singapore is the second country in ASEAN to implement standardized packaging, effective by 1 July 2020.
****Thailand is the first country in ASEAN to implement standardized packaging, effective by 10 September 2019.