The Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand approved a new regulation for cigarette manufacturers that will force them to cover at least 85% of their cigarette packs with graphic warnings regarding the health of smokers and second-hand smokers. Warnings currently cover 55% of cigarette packs, by Thai law, but now it will be mandatory for cigarette makers to up the coverage to 85%. Tobacco giants like Philip Morris and others, including over 1,400 Thai retailers, sued the Ministry of Health when it implemented the new law last year. Because of the furore, the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the order, but it has now brought it back into force.
This means that from 23rd September 2014, Public Health officials will begin random inspections on retailers, and if retailers are found to be selling cigarette packs which do not comply with the new standards, they will be liable to penalties. The grace period has been given to allow retailers to clear out their old stock. The second highest cause of death among Thai people are tobacco-related diseases (the first is alcohol). It’s no wonder the new 85% coverage is now the highest in the world.