The Ministry of Health (MOH) has implemented the decision to standardise packaging and enlarged graphic health warnings on tobacco products sold here in Singapore. From 1 July 2020, the SP Measure will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products.
This comes after an extensive process of reviewing and evaluating the available international and local studies, research and evidence on the SP Measure, as well as several rounds of public consultations. According to the amendments under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, removal of all logos, colours, images and promotional information on the packaging of tobacco products (other than brand names and variant names displayed in a standard colour and font style) will apply.
In addition, the minimum size of the mandatory graphic health warnings will be increased from the existing 50% to 75% of all specified tobacco product packaging surfaces. MOH aims to achieve the five public health objectives such as reducing the attractiveness of tobacco products and the ability of tobacco packaging to mislead about the harmful effects of smoking. This also further includes eliminating the effects of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion and to increase the noticeability and effectiveness of graphic health warnings to better inform smokers and non-smokers the risks associated with tobacco use.
Other tobacco control measures include education, taxation, smoking cessation programmes, bans on tobacco advertising, the point-of-sale display ban and the institution of a minimum legal age for tobacco, so as to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Singapore, and meet the government’s obligations under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
As such, a three-month transition period from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 will be provided, via the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) (Exemption) Order 2019, to allow tobacco products that comply with either the current Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012 or the SP Regulations to be imported into, or distributed, sold, offered for sale or possessed for sale in Singapore. The transition period also looks to help tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to adjust and prepare for the full implementation of the SP Measure from 1 July 2020.