Graphic Health Warnings Placed On Samoa Cigarette Packs

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Cost of printing labels covered by increase in retail price

By Deidre Fanene

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 6, 2015) – The expensive cost of the graphic health warnings on cigarette packets is the reason why smokers will be paying .50 sene [US$0.21] more for the large packet of Pall Mall and .30 sene [US$0.13] more for the small packet.

That is according to the Secretary of Fair Trading and Codex Alimentarius Division at the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L), Fepulea’i Roger Toleafoa.

Prior to the increase which became effective yesterday, smokers were paying $9.50 [US$4.03] for a packet of 20s and $5 [US$2.12] for the packet of 10s.

Now, Pall Mall Filter and Menthols 20s have gone from $9.50 to $10.00 a packet while Pall Mall Filter and Menthols 10’s from $5 to $5.30.

According to Fepulea’i, every year the company brings in their proposals for an increase to the price of cigarettes "The latest increase on the price of the cigarette was last year in January."

Fepulea’i also said that the company had brought in several reasons why they wanted an increase on the prices.

One of these reasons is the health warnings at the back of the cigarette packet.

"The company has showed us that these health warnings are really expensive and there is a special machine that does them," said Fepulea’i.

"Another reason being is because the company is a multinational company so a lot of their works are being operated from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia so they are spending a lot of money in that."

He added that these expenses are on top of "paying bills for their financial services and also [for the] pay roll it is all being done from Malaysia".

When the next increase will be could not be confirmed immediately yesterday. This he said depends on the British American Tobacco (BAT) when they will make another request for new changes.

Chief Executive Officer of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Auelua Taito Samuelu Enari said the most challenging part for the tobacco company is the graphics on the tobacco packet.

"[Because] the health law must apply on the packet and it is very technical and so it is very costly which is why the company has requested an increase on price so they can get all of these done," said Auelua.

He also revealed that there are seven health warning graphics that needs to be shown on the packet.

"At the mean time only one health warning graphic is being running on the tobacco packet but there are seven graphics altogether that needs to be shown on the tobacco packet.

"So probably by the end of next year the tobacco company’s new project is to show all seven health graphics on the tobacco packet.

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