Photograph: Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion – Oman
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion of Oman has issued the Ministerial Decision 67/2023 Deeming an Omani Standard Specification Binding (OS 1655:2022), establishing plain packaging for all tobacco products available on the market in the country. The current Decision of plain packaging replaces the Ministerial Decision 12/2012 Adopting the Gulf Technical Regulation 246/2011 regarding the Labels of Tobacco Products Packaging as a Binding Omani Standard Specification.
The Ministerial Decision was signed on 14 February and published in the Official Gazette on 5 March 2023, and it comes into force after six months from such date of publication.
After some years of work on tobacco control at the Ministry of Health and on these recommendations, this measure strengthens the compliance of Oman with the WHO FCTC, particularly with its Article 11 on Packaging and labelling of tobacco products and Article 13 on Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This measure is also consistent with the Oman’s plans to meet 30% reduction in tobacco consumption by 2025.
The specifications of this new legislation were published in 2022 as a voluntary code and have been made compulsory in 2023. This regulation establishes new sizes of the health warnings to be included in the packaging of tobacco products, increasing from 50% to 65%, which contain text messages and pictures, as recommended by the Convention. The 35% rest of the pack contains the name of the product, in standard format and colour.
The adoption of this legislation turns Oman as the second country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region to implement this policy in addition to Saudi Arabia.
For more information, please, contact Dr Jawad al Lawati, WHO FCTC focal point, Ministry of Health (email@example.com).