Health group: cigarette packs should carry graphic health warnings after release of law’s IRR

HealthJustice Philippines, a public health policy think tank and recipient of the Bloomberg Philanthropy Award for Global Tobacco Control, reminds the tobacco companies that with the recent release of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the The Graphic Health Warnings Law (R.A. No. 10643), along with the templates for graphic health warnings, they should now comply with the law and start producing tobacco products with the prescribed graphic health warnings.

“The delay has been far too long. It is high time for the Graphic Health Warnings Law, which was enacted almost two years ago, to be implemented. As a party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the Philippines was obligated to implement such a law in September 2008,” Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice, said.

The law requires that 50% of the front and back of every cigarette pack be covered with graphic health warning with accompanying text. It forbids usage of misleading terms such as “low tar” and “mild”, among others. Tobacco products manufacturers, importers and distributors who will violate law will be fined not more than P500,000 on the first offense, not more than P1,000,000 on the second offense and not more than P2,000,000 or not more than five years of imprisonment or both on the third offense.

“Now that the graphic health warning templates have been released, there is now no excuse for using attractive tobacco packaging that deceives the public, especially the youth, into thinking that smoking is cool. The truthful warnings are very important in our country where 240 Filipinos die each day because of tobacco-related diseases,” Reyes