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01 Jul 2019

1st Jul 2019

1.   From 1 July 2020, all tobacco products sold in Singapore will be subject to standardised packaging and enlarged graphic health warnings (collectively, “the SP Measure”). The SP Measure will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products.

2.   The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the decision to implement the SP Measure for all tobacco packaging on 31 October 2018, after an extensive process of reviewing and evaluating the available international and local studies, research and evidence on the SP Measure, as well as several rounds of public consultations.

3.   Following the passage of amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act in March 2019, MOH is introducing subsidiary legislation to implement the SP Measure for all tobacco products in Singapore and their packaging and labelling. The Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019 (SP Regulations) were published on 1 July 2019 and will come into operation on 1 July 2020, i.e. 12 months after they are gazetted.

4.   The requirements set out in the SP Regulations encompass the packaging, appearance and labelling on retail packaging of all tobacco products and include:

(a)   The removal of all logos, colours, images and promotional information on the packaging of tobacco products (other than brand names and variant names displayed in a standard colour and font style); and

(b)   An increase in the minimum size of the mandatory graphic health warnings from the existing 50% to 75% of all specified tobacco product packaging surfaces.

Further details on the specifications can be found at the Annex.

Implementation of the SP Measure

5.   From 1 July 2020, all tobacco products imported into, or distributed, sold, offered for sale or possessed for sale in Singapore must comply with the SP Regulations. Non-compliance with the SP Regulations is an offence punishable with a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months or both for first offenders. Those with a prior qualifying conviction will face heavier penalties.

6.   A three-month transition period from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 will be provided, via the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) (Exemption) Order 2019, to allow tobacco products that comply with either the current Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Labelling) Regulations 2012 or the SP Regulations to be imported into, or distributed, sold, offered for sale or possessed for sale in Singapore. The transition period will help tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to adjust and prepare for the full implementation of the SP Measure from 1 July 2020.

Singapore’s multipronged approach on tobacco control

7.   The SP Measure for tobacco products will, in conjunction with other tobacco control measures, contribute to achieving broader tobacco control aims such as discouraging 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.

8.   Other tobacco control measures include education, taxation, smoking cessation programmes, bans on tobacco advertising, the point-of-sale display ban and the institution of a minimum legal age for tobacco, so as to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Singapore, and meet the government’s obligations under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.


ANNEX

Specifications of the Standardised Packaging Measure

The key elements of the SP Measure are highlighted in the table below. For full specifications, please refer to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Appearance, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2019.

Features of SP Measure

The standardised layout requires that:

Appearance of retail packages

 

  • External surface of a retail package of any tobacco product be in drab brown (i.e. colour Pantone 448C).
  • Internal surface of a retail package of any tobacco product be white in colour OR if the packaging is made of metal or wood, the internal surface may be the colour of the metal or wood used.
  • All surfaces must have a matte finish, be smooth and not bear any decorative feature, shape, texture, or other embellishment.
  • All retail packages carry health warnings on the specified external surfaces. Each health warning must occupy not less than 75% of the total area of the external surface of the retail package on which the health warning is displayed.
  • All inserts, wrappers, and tear strips of retail packages are standardised.
  • No use of package features the appearance of which can be altered (e.g. heat-activated or markings that appear under fluorescent light).
  • No use of package features that produce any sound or give off any scent (other than the natural scent of the tobacco used) that has the effect of promoting the product.

Information on the retail packages

 

  • No marks are allowed except permitted marks below.
  • Appearance of any brand name and/or variant name on retail packages is standardised and must appear in standardised locations on retail packages.
  • Other permitted marks are measurement marks (not more than 2) (e.g. Number of sticks, weight of products), name and address of manufacturer OR import/wholesale licensee, country of manufacture, date of manufacture, bar code, and unique identification marks (UIM). Appearance of these other permitted marks on retail packages is standardised.
  • Display of product emission yields on retail packages is not permitted.

Size and construction of the retail packages

 

  • Retail package size, shape and materials are standardised.
  • The opening of cigarette packs is based on a standardised format.

Appearance of tobacco products

 

  • Cigarettes are of a standardised colour or combination of colours, and carry no markings except for the Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette (“SDPC”) marking, and an alphanumeric code for the purpose of identifying the product, with a standardised appearance and location.
  • Cigar bands are of a standardised format, colour and location, and only contain prescribed information in standardised appearance.