MANILA, Philippines – After what tobacco control advocates call a 4-month delay, the long wait is finally over.
Starting Thursday, March 3, the government will require all tobacco products manufactured or imported for sale in the Philippines to carry graphic health warnings on the lower portion of a cigarette pack, in at least 50% of both sides of the pack.
According to World Health Organization standards, graphic health warnings should be placed on 50% or more – but not less than 30% – of both front and back display areas of a cigarette pack.
A maximum of 12 variations of the warnings will be rotated every 24 months. Manufacturers will be given 8 months to exhaust their stocks of packs that only bear text warnings.
The Philippines is a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires the implementation of “large, rotating health warnings on all tobacco product packaging and labeling.”
With 240 Filipinos dying every day due to major tobacco-related diseases, health advocates say picture-based warnings are also needed to warn Filipinos who cannot read or understand the current text warnings being used on cigarette packs.
It took 7 years before the Philippines saw the enactment of a graphic health warning law. President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10643 or the Graphic Health Warnings Law in July 2014. – Rappler.com