Thailand - Court decision paves the way to the resizing of graphic health warnings

On 8 March 2013, Thailand’s Minister of Health, Dr Pradith Sinthawanarong, signed new regulations that require graphic health warnings to cover at least 85% of both sides of cigarette packages, up from 55%. However, implementation of the measures was held up as a result of a legal challenge initiated by three major international tobacco companies, which resulted in an injunction to that effect issued by the Central Administrative Court in August 2013.

The ruling has now been overturned by the Supreme Administrative Court, allowing the Ministry of Health to implement the regulations without delay. Tobacco companies have been given 90 days to dispose of their existing stocks and to replace them with products in packaging carrying the resized warnings.

The Court is still examining another claim put forward by the tobacco companies, which argues that the regulations should be declared illegal. This does not prevent, however, implementation of the requirements by the Ministry of Health in the meantime.

In addition, Thailand has always been very supportive of other Parties’ efforts to implement the Convention, not least by granting permission to use its pictorial health warnings.

More information is available from Dr Nopporn Cheanklin, Deputy Director, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health (E-mail: drnopp@hotmail.com).

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