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Singapore’s Ministry of Health to severely curtail cigarette packs as a form of advertising

A cigarette pack from Singapore

A proposal from Singapore’s Ministry of Health states that all tobacco products sold in the country will have standardised packaging — without logos, colours, brand images or promotional information — and with enlarged graphic health warnings.

Brand and product names will be displayed in a standard colour and font. The graphic health warnings that currently account for 50% of pack real estate will now cover 75%.

MOH will propose amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (Cap. 309) in early 2019 to introduce these measures, collectively known as the SP Proposal.

The proposal covers cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon [loose dried tobacco] and other roll-your-own tobacco products.

The MOH believes the SP Proposal will be effective in accomplishing five public health objectives: “Reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products; eliminate the effects of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion; reduce the ability of tobacco packaging to mislead about the harmful effects of smoking (including on the relative harmful effects between products); increase the noticeability and effectiveness of graphic health warnings; and better inform smokers and non-smokers of the risks associated with tobacco use.”

This will be accompanied by other tobacco control measures such as increased taxation, bans on tobacco advertising and point of sale display.

These efforts are part of a concerted anti-tobacco drive from the MOH which revealed that more than one in five adult men in Singapore smoke daily and over 2,000 Singaporeans die from smoking related diseases, annually.

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