BANGKOK Aug 28 The Thai government plans to
appeal a court victory by tobacco giant Philip Morris to keep
larger health warnings off cigarette packets for sale in
The Central Administrative Court ruled last Friday to
temporarily suspend a new health ministry regulation requiring
tobacco warning labels to cover 85 percent of the visible pack,
up from 55 percent now.
"We have discussed with health minister and legal experts,
and we will file an appeal to the Supreme Administrative court
in the next two weeks," Nopporn Cheanklin, deputy director of
the Health Ministry's Disease Control Department, told Reuters.
The Thai unit of Philip Morris International Inc
filed a lawsuit against the Public Health Ministry on June 26
that asked the Administrative Court to abolish the regulation,
which would have taken effect on Oct 2.
The Thai Tobacco Trade Association, which represents more
than 1,400 retailers nationwide, also filed a similar case,
saying the ministry's regulation was "unconstitutional".
The Administrative Court's suspension will take effect until
the court comes up with a final verdict.
About 50,700 people die from smoking-related diseases each
year in Thailand, according to the Southeast Asia Tobacco
Control Alliance. It estimates that 13 million of Thailand's 65
million people are smokers, including 2.2 million minors.
Onanong Pratakphiriya, spokeswoman of Philip Morris
(Thailand), said in a statement the health ministry failed to
consult related parties in the tobacco industry before imposing
any new regulation.
"We have clarified to the court that the regulation was not
in accordance with legal process and was unnecessary because
Thailand already has high awareness about the risks of smoking
on health," the statement said.
Philip Morris, the distributor of Marlboro and L&M
cigarettes, has a 20 percent share of cigarettes in Thailand.
(Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong. Editing by Jason Szep and