Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand rolled out plain cigarette packaging on September 10, becoming the first in Asia to make what is called as an effective way to reduce the appeal of smoking.

Last year, Thailand agreed to comply with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines so the simple packs were officially available in stores. Businesses have until December 8 to phase out stocks before facing fines of up to 40,000 THB (1,300 USD).

The standardised packaging includes a graphic picture of tobacco's effects on health and the logo-free brand name written in plain font.

Keeping a uniform typeface below graphic depictions of smoking-related illnesses will make the products less attractive to buyers, said Prakit Vathesatogkit, vice-chair of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, adding that non-smokers and kids are less likely to start smoking with this packaging.

There are more than 246 million cigarette smokers in Southeast Asia, where low prices help make it one of the largest tobacco-consuming regions in the world.

In 2012, Australia became the first country to require tobacco products to be sold without colourful brand logos. Singapore is set to implement similar restrictions on packaging next year./.