Thailand's anti-tobacco lobby is on the verge of smoking out the display of cigarette packets in retail shops across the country. d-day is September 24, 2005 when cigarette packets will be banished completely from the public eye, hidden away in cupboards, only to be offered when smokers seek their nicotine fix. And one of the leading targets of this campaign, the international chain of convenience stores, 7-11, has been warned that a boycott would ensue if cigarette packets are openly displayed after the deadline. 7-11 has 3,100 retail stores across Thailand, making it the largest chain of stores that have cigarette packets displayed on racks within sight of the cashiers' counters.
This anti-smoking lobby has already collected more than 10,000 signatures from Thai students to back the ban announced by the Thai ministry of public health. "7-11 has been one of the vocal opponents of this effort, so they have become a natural target,'' said Hatai Chitannondh, a medical doctor and one of the leaders of the campaign.