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Thais to get bigger anti-smoking warnings on cigarette packs

Thai health authorities said cigarette packets will carry warnings on the risks of smoking across 85 per cent of their surface, in a blow to tobacco companies who had fiercely opposed the move.

BANGKOK: Thai health authorities on Friday said cigarette packets will carry warnings on the risks of smoking across 85 per cent of their surface, in a blow to tobacco companies who had fiercely opposed the move.

The warnings - featuring gruesome photographs of smoking-related ailments - will increase from 55 to 85 per cent of the surface of both sides of every cigarette packet, according to the kingdom's Ministry of Public Health.

"The law enforces the enlarging of warnings on cigarette packs to 85 per cent - effective from today onwards," the ministry said on its website.

The ministry said it believes "protecting the health of people is important", adding it had received a letter from Thailand's Administrative Court on Thursday allowing it to proceed with the new rules.

Last year tobacco giant Philip Morris was among leading cigarette firms to challenge the ministry's move in the court, prompting the suspension of the plan.

But the ruling means bigger warnings will soon be have to be displayed on packets.

"Every manufacturer and importer of cigarettes has to follow the law," the statement added.

The tobacco lobby has systematically tried to block laws curbing advertising or raising taxes on cigarettes, but more and more countries are adopting the approach.

The World Health Organisation has accused the tobacco industry of deploying legions of lobbyists to block packaging changes.

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