All manufacturers of tobacco products are now required to put graphic health warnings on their products' packages touching on the adverse effects of tobacco use.
The new 2014 Tobacco Control Regulations, published today by the Ministry of Health (MOH) notes: “The manufacturer, seller, distributor or importer of a tobacco product shall ensure that the health warning and message including a pictogram or picture is not distorted or likely to be damaged, concealed, obliterated, removed or rendered permanently unreadable when the package on which it is printed is opened in the normal way.”
The regulations state that the picture or pictogram used shall be in full colour with a favourable background that maximises noticeability and legibility of the health warnings.
The published regulations further stipulate that where the health warning messages and graphics are likely to be obscured or obliterated by a wrapper on the package, the manufacturers shall ensure that the words and images are printed on both the wrapper and the packet of the tobacco product.
Based on this law, no person is allowed to manufacture, sell, distribute or import any device that is intended to cover, obscure or detract the display of specified health warnings on tobacco products.
The tough regulations come in the wake of damning statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO) linking tobacco use to various ailments.
According to WHO, the tobacco epidemic is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. It kills nearly six million people annually. Out of these, more than five million are users or ex-users and more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.
Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases including cancer, lung and heart diseases.