From next July, tobacco items to be sold in standardised packaging

From July 1 next year, the minimum size of graphic health warnings on tobacco packs will be increased to 75 per cent of the packaging surface, up from 50 per cent, similar to the illustration above. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH
From July 1 next year, the minimum size of graphic health warnings on tobacco packs will be increased to 75 per cent of the packaging surface, up from 50 per cent, similar to the illustration above. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Cigarette packs and all other tobacco products sold in Singapore must have standardised packaging and enlarged graphic health warnings from July 1 next year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in a statement yesterday.

The changes will apply to cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products.

From next year, the packaging of tobacco products will not be allowed to show logos, colours, images or other promotional information associated with the brand. Product and brand names will be allowed in a standardised font style and colour.

The minimum size of graphic health warnings depicting the ill effects of smoking, such as gum disease, will be increased to 75 per cent of the packaging surface, up from 50 per cent.

The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019 (SP Regulations) were gazetted yesterday.

MOH first announced the changes - collectively called the SP Measure - on Oct 31 last year.

In the statement yesterday, the ministry said it announced the decision after an extensive process of reviewing and evaluating available international and local studies, research and evidence on the SP Measure, as well as several rounds of public consultations. Similar measures introduced elsewhere were also studied.

 
 
 

MOH said: "The SP Measure for tobacco products will, in conjunction with other tobacco control measures, contribute to achieving broader tobacco control aims such as discouraging non-smokers from picking up smoking, encouraging smokers to quit and encouraging Singaporeans to adopt a tobacco-free lifestyle, which will ultimately lead to reduced smoking prevalence."

Tobacco products that comply with either the current regulations under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012 or the SP regulations can be imported, sold or distributed in Singapore in the interim.

MOH said the transition period will help tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers adjust and prepare for the full implementation of the SP Measure.

Those who do not comply after July 1 next year may be liable to a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail term of up to six months, or both, in the case of first offenders.

Those with a prior qualifying conviction will face heavier penalties.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2019, with the headline 'From next July, tobacco items to be sold in standardised packaging'. Print Edition | Subscribe