The majority of cigarette packs in Indonesia do not comply with the country’s new graphic health warning requirements, according to a report in The Jakarta Post.
The Drug and Food Monitoring Agency (DFMA) said only 13.44 percent of cigarette packages circulating in the market bear the pictorial warnings that became mandatory on June 24.
Under a presidential regulation on tobacco control issued last year, cigarette makers must allocate 40 percent of cigarette packaging for text and pictorial warnings about the health effects of smoking.
The DFMA and regional food and drug offices in 31 regions monitored the implementation of the new tobacco-control rules during the two days following their enactment.
Of the 2,270 cigarette packages monitored, only 305 or had pictorial warnings. There are 3,363 cigarette brands, produced by 672 companies, registered with Indonesia’s Customs and Excise Directorate.
Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said that cigarette makers should recall all products that did not display the pictorial warnings.
The ministry said that there would be penalties for companies that failed to comply with the new policy, ranging from written warnings and reprimands to the revocation of their business licenses.
Nafsiah said companies that missed the deadline would be issued warnings, and those that failed to comply could eventually be fined up to $42,000. Their executives could face up to five years in prison.
The country’s biggest cigarette producer, Philip Morris-owned Sampoerna, said it began distributing products with the new warnings on June 23, but it needed more time to clear out existing stock.
A national survey in 2012 found that 67 percent of all Indonesian males over age 15 smoked—the world’s highest rate—while 35 percent of the total population lit up; a figure surpassed only by Russia.