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