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Pictorial Warnings Finally Come Into Effect
Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/24/pictorial-warnings-finally-come-effect.html
Source Date: Monday, June 23, 2014
Focus: Training Institutions
Country: Indonesia
Created: Jun 23, 2014

The Health Ministry has said that it will enforce a government regulation requiring graphic warnings on cigarette packets, which comes into effect on Tuesday.

“Starting tomorrow, the warnings about the dangers of smoking that have so far been printed in words on every packet of cigarettes must be replaced by pictures about the impact of smoking,” Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said on Monday.

Nafsiah said that cigarette makers should recall all products that did not bear pictorial warnings.

She also said there would be no tolerance for cigarette makers that failed to follow the new regulation.

“It is true, however, that there was a suggestion of giving a two-month reprieve to cigarette makers. Is it really not enough? How long must we show tolerance? Because it would never be enough,” Nafsiah told The Jakarta Post.

The new policy is based on a government regulation that restricts tobacco advertisements and requires graphic warnings on cigarette packs.

The tobacco control regulation was issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in December last year in an attempt to reduce the country’s addiction to tobacco.

Under the regulation, cigarette brands are not allowed to place ads on the front pages of publications and are not allowed to advertise next to food and beverage adverts. In addition, tobacco ads may only be aired on television between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Cigarette makers also have an obligation to use 40 percent of cigarette packaging for text and pictorial warnings about smoking.

Other provisions include a ban on cigarette makers using misleading promotional terms, including “light”, “mild”, “low tar”, “slim”, “special” and “premium”.

The Health Ministry has provided five samples of pictures that cigarette makers could print on their products.

The five pictures, showing the effects of smoking, were produced based on a survey conducted by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the University of Indonesia.

Nafsiah said that there would be penalties for cigarette makers that failed to comply with the new policy, ranging from written warnings and reprimands to the revocation of their business licenses as stipulated in Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) Regulation No. 41/2013.

Neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka introduced pictorial warnings on cigarette packs long ago, with at least 50 percent of packaging required to be used for smoking warnings and less than a year for companies to adjust.

Australia introduced plain cigarette packaging last year in a bid to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

Responding to the new policy, cigarette makers have appealed to the ministry to give them more time.

Association of Indonesian light cigarette producers (Gaprindo) chairman Muhaimin Moefti called on the government to give companies three more months.

“Basically, cigarettes products should be taken from the market after three months of production. Perhaps this could be used as a consideration,” Moefti said.

He said that some cigarette makers — including Sampoerna, Philip Morris, Bentoel, Tresno, STTC, Permona, Stabat and PT Pagi — were able to distribute cigarette packs with pictorial health warnings from Monday.

“However, we should understand that cigarette production and marketing are running continuously. There would be excess supplies on the market,” Moefti said.

The BPOM recorded that 56 producers and importers have registered 326 cigarette brands with pictorial health warnings as of Friday.

However, the number is only one-tenth of the total producers and brands, according to data released by the customs office showing that there are 3,392 cigarette brands produced by 672 companies operating in the country as of April this year. (put)
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