Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Singapore explores plain packaging

Image result for plain cigarette packaging singapore
Singapore becomes the latest country to examine the issue of plain cigarette packaging. Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MH) has launched a public consultation on whether to adopt standardized packaging of tobacco products with larger and more graphic public health warnings. This follows a previous study and sets out 3 concrete proposals -
(a) regulating the promotional aspects of tobacco packaging;
(b) standardizing tobacco packaging elements; and
(c) increasing the size of graphic health warnings on packs from 50% to 75%.

Like many Health Ministries elsewhere in the world they approach this from a pure public health perspective, with a clear bias against tobacco companies and aiming for a tobacco free society. The consultation asserts that product packaging is a form of misleading advertising so must be restricted and that there is a clear global move to standardized packaging.  Much of the proposal reviews the international developments and their applicability to Singapore. They consider opposing arguments such as that plain packaging increases counterfeiting and that it diminishes IP protection but reject them all.

It seems overall a determined effort to move quickly, perhaps to become the first in the SE Asia region to make this law.

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