The Public Health Ministry has served notice that it is very serious about enforcing the new Alcohol Control Act that took effect in February this year. The aim is to curb any activity that encourages people to drink, given the high economic and social costs of drinking in Thailand.
Dr Samarn Futrakul, director of the ministry's Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, singled out a Tesco Lotus print advertisement showing pictures of gift baskets with wrapped presents that look like whisky boxes, which would violate the Act, he said.
As well, he said, print ads showing lists of product items in the baskets, if liquor is included, would be construed as liquor advertising.
''Wrapping whisky boxes as presents and showing them in a catalogue is considered something more than usual sales. Advertising in the newspaper is even more obvious,'' he said.
Retailers often use mockup bottles or boxes in print promotions to avoid the restriction since the act bans the display of identifiable logos and packages.
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