Graphic health warnings on cigarette packs to help smokers quit habit – solon

Another bill showing graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and

other tobacco products has been filed at the House of Representatives.
It aims to intensify public awareness on the effects and extent of
damage resulting from tobacco smoking.

Rep. Marcelino R. Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City), author of
House Bill 5667, said there is a need to install picture-based health
warnings as text warnings are not as effective and sufficient in terms
of encouraging smokers to quit the habit.

Teodoro said the bill seeks to require all cigarette packages and
other tobacco product packages, found in the market, to bear highly
visible full-color graphic health warnings.

Teodoro said pictorial health warnings on tobacco products are already
implemented in 15 countries as part of the requirement found in
Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an
international treaty initiated by the World Health Assembly.

“The Philippines, as a party to the FCTC, is obliged to comply with
certain standards including the implementation of effective measures
on packaging and labeling of tobacco products such as the adoption of
a picture-based health warning on tobacco packages,” said Teodoro.

The bill provides that the graphic health warnings shall have two
components—a photographic picture warning and an accompanying textual
warning that is related to the picture.

Furthermore, the measure provides that the graphic health warnings
shall be printed on at least 60% of the principal display surfaces of
any tobacco package, occupy no less than 60% of the front and 60% of
the back panel of the packaging and that it shall be located at the
upper portions of the said panels or principal display areas.

The bill also calls for a minimum of eight variations of graphic
health warnings which shall be printed simultaneously and rotated
periodically so that at any time within the 12-month period, when a
set of graphic warnings are scheduled to be rotated, the variations of
the warnings shall appear in the market with proportionate frequency.

Under the bill, each batch of non-compliant tobacco packages,
regardless of size, that are withdrawn from the manufacturing
facility, imported into the Philippines for sale to the market,
transferred to other facilities, or delivered to the retail
establishments after the compliance date shall constitute one offense.

Teodoro said the passage of the bill will help strengthen the role of
the Department of Health in promoting the right to health and
instilling consciousness among Filipinos.

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