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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. Myanmar is the third Asian country to adopt standardized packaging as part of its commitment to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Standardized Packaging Notification will take effect on 10 April 2022. However, the implementation of standardized packaging is delayed to 1 January 2023 due to strong tobacco industry interference.

Malaysia and the Philippines have taken initiatives to consider standardized packaging measures. As of October 2021, more than 30 countries and territories are moving forward with standardized packaging, with 21 countries having adopted the measure following Australia’s lead (in 2012), 3* having it in practice and at least 14 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.

* Standardized packaging has been implemented in practice in 3 countries where packages are imported from a country with plain packaging – Monaco (from France), Cook Islands (from New Zealand), and Niue (from Australia).  

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

Implementation timeline of latest set of pictorial health warnings/ standardized packaging in ASEAN
 
CountryYear of implementation- Round of rotationSize (%) and location (front & back)Date of approvalDate of
implementation
Number of rotating current health warningsDuration of industry compliance
2008, 2012Top 75%, 75%13 Mar
2012
1 Sept 20127less than 6 months

2016, 2018, 2021*

Top 55%, 55%20 Nov 20201 Aug 202129 months 
2014, 2018Top 40%, 40%13 Dec 201731 May 2018512 months

2016**

Top 75%, 75%23 May
2016 
1 Jan 2018619 months 
2009, 2014Top 50%, 60%11 Jun
2013
1 Jan 201412Less than 7 months
2016, 2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2022***Top 75%, 75%12 Oct 202110 Apr 2022106 months  

2016, 2018, 2020, 2022****

Bottom 50%, 50%15 Apr 2021Mar 2022 1212 months 
2004, 2006, 2013, 2020*****Top 75%, 75%1 Jul 20191 Jul 2020612 months
2005, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2019, 2022******Top 85%, 85%14 Jul 202111 Jan 2022109 months
2013Top 50%, 50%8 Feb
2013
8 Aug 2013 for soft packs,
8 Dec 2013 for hard packs
66-10 months
*The implementation of 3rd rotation of Cambodia PHWs effective on 1 August 2021 was delayed to 1 December 2021 due to strong tobacco industry interference.
**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 was the third ASEAN country to implement standardized packaging requiring 10 PHWs for smoked and smokeless tobacco products (5 PHWs each), effective by 10 April 2022. was delayed to 1 January 2023 due to strong tobacco industry interference.
****The 4th rotation of the Philippines PHWs effective by March 2022.
*****Singapore has implemented standardized packaging and increased the pictorial warning size from 50% to 75% effective by 1 July 2020.
******Thailand standardized packaging with a new set of 10 rotating pictorial health warnings effective by 11 January 2022.