Cabinet tightens control on tobacco, announces flavoring formula

Government House, Smokers are in a panic! The Cabinet tightens control on tobacco, announces the flavoring formula, collects a 100,000 baht license fee, while the Treasury Department and the Council of State object to 'mint plants'. Ms. Kanika Ounjit, Deputy Government Spokesperson, revealed that the Cabinet meeting approved the principle of the draft ministerial regulation specifying the components of tobacco products and substances resulting from the combustion of tobacco product components, as proposed by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), after opening for public hearings and reporting impact analysis. The draft ministerial regulation contains the following key points: 1. Requires manufacturers or importers of tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars sold domestically to report the list of tobacco product components and substances resulting from combustion. 2. It is stipulated that tobacco products must not contain any additives, substances that create colors that may entice or attract people to consume tobacco products, substances that make people believe that tobacco products are beneficial to health or reduce health harm, or substances that make people believe that they increase energy and vitality. 3. Stipulate that tobacco products must contain substances produced by combustion not exceeding the specified amounts, namely (1) tar not exceeding 10 milligrams per stick, (2) nicotine not exceeding 1 milligrams per stick, and (3) carbon monoxide not exceeding 10 milligrams per stick. 4. Stipulate that the implementation of this draft Ministerial Regulation shall be carried out primarily by electronic means. 5. Specify that the certificate is valid for 3 years. In case the original certificate is damaged, lost or destroyed in a significant way, a request for a replacement certificate must be submitted within 15 days. The replacement certificate must be valid for the remaining period of the original certificate. 6. Specify that information on the components and substances resulting from combustion of tobacco products must be disclosed. 7. Specify the certificate fee at a rate of 100,000 baht per certificate and the replacement certificate fee at a rate of 2,000 baht per certificate. Effective 180 days after the date of announcement in the Government Gazette and within a period of 4 years. While the Ministry of Finance commented that the Ministry of Public Health should study the appropriate amount of ingredients to avoid the smell or taste being more prominent than the nature of tobacco, it viewed that allowing the use of menthol, which is an extract from mint plants, but not allowing the use of mint plants, as contradictory and inconsistent words. Therefore, it should consider the part about other substances that create the taste and/or smell of menthol and licorice as well. The wording that '…or any other substance that creates the taste or smell that may encourage or attract to consume tobacco products or may make consuming tobacco products easier…' may cause problems in the interpretation and oper ation of law enforcement officers. A time frame should be set for tobacco industry operators and tobacco farmers to adjust after the enforcement. While the Office of the Council of State has additional observations regarding the ingredients of tobacco products, they must not contain the specified flavoring substances, except for menthol and licorice, which may not be consistent with the objectives of this Ministerial Regulation and the objectives of the Framework Convention. The Ministry of Public Health should study the impacts and listen to opinions from doctors and related parties comprehensively. Source: Thai News Agency

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