Thailand is probably one of the leading countries that is campaigning against cigarette smoking. For a while now, cigarette advertising on television hasn’t been allowed. Also, pictures of people smoking cannot be shown. This gets a bit annoying sometimes when you are watching American sitcoms or movies as they blur out half the screen. Even cartoons like The Simpsons get censored when Bart’s aunts smoke. Sometimes I think our local cable operator goes a bit too far on purpose. They even censor the anti-smoking adverts!
Just over a year ago, the government banned smoking in air-conditioned stores and restaurants, schools, hospitals, clinics and government offices. They have also tried to stop children buying cigarettes in shops. In the picture above you can see there is a warning that you have to be 18 or more in order to buy cigarettes. However, from what I have seen this is not very effective. But, things might change soon which hopefully will put teenagers off smoking.
Up to now, cigarette packs have had to show one of the following warnings in Thai on the front of the pack:
1. Smoking is hazardous to health.
2. Smoking causes lung cancer and pulmonary diseases.
3. Smoking causes cardiovascular diseases.
4. Smoking is harmful to fetus.
5. Respect the rights of others by not smoking in public.
6. Quit smoking reduces the risks of dangerous diseases.
7. Quit smoking for the sake of your loved ones.
This has now just changed to graphic warnings that must take up 50% of the pack. These show pictures such as: rotten teeth, a father smoking in front of his baby, close up of diseased lungs, a woman with a premature old face and a dying man. In all there are six to collect. It will be interesting to see if this has any affect.
Click here to see pictures of all packs (courtesy of Thailand Health Promotion Institute).
QUICK FACTS: The National Statistics Bureau said about 21.6 million Thais aged 11 years and up smoke cigarettes every day. The number of smokers, especially teenagers, has also risen rapidly over the past few years. About 125 people in Thailand die each day due to smoking-related diseases. More than five million Thais suffer from lung cancer, heart disease, and the after-effects of strokes.