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Public health and environmental advocates vow to strictly monitor newly-issued GHW

06 Mar 2020

Public health and environmental advocates vow to strictly monitor newly-issued GHW

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Philippines, together with the EcoWaste Coalition, warned tobacco industry manufacturers and retailers that they will be closely monitoring the compliance for the new graphic health warning (GHW) rolled out by the Department of Health (DOH) on cigarette packs on March 4.

“As in the previous years, we will continue monitoring industry compliance to the law and report violations to the DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). We are expecting all tobacco manufacturers to print the new GHW templates and that retailers should only sell products bearing the new sets of templates. Otherwise, we will have no recourse but to file a complaint,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, Executive Director of ASH Philippines.

Meanwhile, EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said, “The graphic health warnings are cost-effective means to increase public awareness on the dangers of tobacco use. We do not want smokers to be immune to the old design that they have come to ignore them, which is why part of the strategy of the graphic health warning law is to come up with new graphic health warnings each time.”

According to Republic Act 10643 or The Graphic Health Law of 2014, graphic health warnings on cigarettes must be changed periodically to prevent the public from being desensitized to the images and as mandated by law.

The GHW law also requires all cigarette packs to carry at least 50% of graphic health warnings on the front and back panel showing the harmful effects of smoking both to the smoker and those who may inhale the secondhand smoke in order to “effectively warn of the devastating effects of tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke”; “remove misleading or deceptive numbers or descriptors like low tar, light, ultra-lights or mild which convey or tend to convey that a product or variant is healthier, less harmful or safer; and “further promote the right to health and information of the people”.

The law likewise imposes penalties on tobacco manufacturers, importers, distributors from PHP 500,000 to PHP 2 million while retailers, sellers and its agents are imposed with PHP 10,000 to PHP 100,000 as penalties. The court may also impose additional penalties like imprisonment and business permits and licenses revocation.

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