Mynamar postpones the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging by 12 months into next year, reports eco-business.
Compelled by a Ministry of Health directive issued in October 2021, Myanmar was supposed to implement standardised tobacco packaging after 180 days (April 2022), followed by a 90-day phaseout of old tobacco packaging. However, transnational and local cigarette producers successfully lobbied for the implementation deadline to be pushed back until April 2023.
Myanmar was to be the third in Asian country, after Thailand and Singapore, among the 20 countries worldwide to have implemented standardised packaging. The new regulation requires the outer surfaces of tobacco product packages, such as boxes, cases, cartons, and others, to be presented in a standardised dull dark brown colour and to be flat, smooth, and devoid of any attractive designs or decorative elements. This measure would have complemented the pictorial health warnings already required on 75 per cent of the front and back surfaces of tobacco product packaging.
“Instead of postponing its implementation by 12 months, the government should have penalized tobacco companies for not complying by the April 10 deadline,” said Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance. “Only the tobacco industry will profit from this bad decision, while the government and people of Myanmar will suffer more diseases, healthcare costs, deaths, and their related socio-economic burden,” Dorotheo added. Myanmar has more than eight million smokers, and tobacco kills nearly 70,000 Burmese people annually, the report said.