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Singapore to introduce plain packaging for all tobacco products

01 Nov 2018

On 31 October, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it will introduce standardised packaging for all tobacco products sold in Singapore, as part of ongoing efforts for a tobacco-free society. If enacted, the new measures may take effect from 2020 and all tobacco products may soon be required to be sold in plain or nondescript packaging, as well as display mandatory graphic health warnings covering at least 75 per cent of the pack’s surface, up from the current mandated 50 per cent.

Australia has led the move as the first country to adopt such measures in 2012, banning logos and distinctively coloured cigarette packaging in favour of drab olive packets with brand names printed in small standardised fonts. Since then, countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand and Hungary have also introduced similar measures.

“…I think it’s important to highlight that this new regulation is not intended to be a magic bullet, but to complement existing tobacco control measures. The new regulation is also in line with the World Health Organization's recommendation for tackling avoidable disease and death caused by tobacco,” said Professor Teo Yik Ying, Dean. He added, “Bear in mind, smoking remains as the leading preventable causes of disease and death. Every single tool in discouraging initiation, or making smoking less appealing, ought to be considered seriously.”

Professor Chia Kee Seng agreed. “Standardised packs reduce dramatically the appeal of tobacco products, especially among youth and young adults", he said, "I don't think it will work on its own, but it will work together with all the other existing policy measures."

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