The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Big Tobacco’s challenges delay world’s largest pack warnings

Thai image FBThailand and Sri Lanka are being denied bragging rights for having among the world’s largest graphic warnings on cigarette packs because of challenges from the tobacco industry.

Thailand’s new warnings would cover 85 percent of the front and back of packages. That would put it ahead of the current leader, Australia, where warnings cover 75 percent of the front and 90 percent of the back of packs (82.5 percent on average). The figures were provided by the Canadian Cancer Society, which produces the International Cigarette Health Warnings report.

Thailand announced in March that it would increase its warnings, which now cover 55 percent of packages. The new rule was to go into effect in October, but in August a Thai court granted tobacco companies a temporary stay after they argued the government acted beyond its powers in increasing the warnings. The government says it will appeal that decision.

Sri Lanka announced warnings would cover 80 percent of the front of packages, tying it for the lead for largest warnings on the front side, with Uruguay. But after being announced in October 2012, the change was also attacked by the industry, and in September Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court suspended the regulation pending court appeals by the Ceylon Tobacco Co.

At least 65 countries/ jurisdictions have finalised picture warnings and many others are considering or developing them, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Size – front of packs

Size – average of front & back

   

Thailand – 85%*

Thailand – 85%*

Uruguay – 80%

Australia – 82.5%

Sri Lanka – 80%*

Uruguay, Sri Lanka* – 80%

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Jamaica – 75%

Brunei, Canada, Jamaica – 75%

Turkey – 65%

Mauritius, Mexico – 60%

*pending challenge from tobacco industry

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