Duty-unpaid cigarette selling
Duty-unpaid cigarette selling Pixabay

As a part of its ongoing fight against tobacco products, Singapore has decided to restrain branding to 25 percent and introduce standardised packaging of all cigarettes and related products with a customary big graphic health warning, effective from 1 July, 2010.

Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday, 1 July, gazaetted the new regulations under the SP Regulations - or Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019, which will come into operation exactly one year later.

Called the SP Measure, new regulations pertain to effectively banning display of logos, colours, images and promotional information associated with tobacco products, whether cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products.

Brand names will now be allowed in a standard colour and font style, reducing their visual appeal. The minimum size of the graphic health warnings will be increased to 75 per cent of the product packaging surface, up from 50 per cent.

First-time offenders who fail to comply with the SP regulation may face a maximum fine of $10,000 or a jail term of up to six months, or both. It will be higher if they have a previous record of qualifying conviction.

Trial Period

On a trial basis, for a period of three months from 1 April to 30 June, 2020, those tobacco products complying with the new SP Regulations will be allowed as imports, aimed at helping the tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to prepare for the full-scale compliance by 1 July, 2020.

The ministry said the measure will contribute to achieving broader tobacco control aims to discourage non-smokers from picking up smoking, encouraging smokers to quit, and encouraging Singaporeans to adopt a tobacco-free lifestyle, "which will ultimately lead to reduced smoking prevalence."

The new SP Measure is a part of the ongoing changes introduced on all tobacco products from 31 October, 2018. The new packaging method is already implemented in some countries like India two years ago.