Tobacco retailers to sue Thai health ministry over rule on extra-large cigarette pack warnings

BANGKOK – Tobacco giant Philip Morris and more than 1,400 Thai retailers say they will sue Thailand’s health ministry over a rule that would nearly cover cigarette packets with smoking warnings.

The regulation scheduled to take effect Oct. 2 requires that 85 per cent of space on the packets’ front and back be dedicated to graphic images and warnings.

Thai Tobacco Trade Association director Varaporn Namatra said Wednesday the change is unnecessary and would complicate work for retailers.

The organization will file a lawsuit by July 4.

Deputy Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said the enlarged size will be more effective in deterring smoking.

The Public Health Ministry said at least 48,000 people in Thailand die from smoking-related diseases each year.