Manila, 2 March 2018: Starting 3 March 2018, all tobacco products taken out from local manufacturing facilities or imported into the Philippines are required by law to carry new Graphic Health Warnings (GHWs).
As prescribed under the GHW Law (RA 10643), the first set of GHW templates issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and enforced since 3 March 2016 are valid for only two years. Last year, the DOH already issued a second set of GHW templates to replace the initial set, and these new templates will be valid for two years and so on.
“Evidence shows that refreshing health warnings and messages periodically increases their effectiveness. It is important that health warnings and images are changed after a certain period to enhance and maintain the maximum impact over time,” said Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, FCTC Program Director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).
“There should be no excuse for tobacco companies not to comply with this. We call on the DOH to ensure that all tobacco products carry the new set of warnings and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to ensure that excise tax stamps are affixed only to tobacco products with the new warnings. Violators must be fined or prosecuted,” remarked Dorotheo.
At least 87,000 Filipinos succumb to preventable smoking-caused diseases annually. Given the socio-economic profile of the Philippines, graphic health warnings are a cost-effective means to inform smokers and non-smokers about the health harms of smoking, to encourage quit attempts, and to discourage smoking initiation by youths. Graphic warnings also decrease the attractiveness and appeal of cigarettes and counter the alluring and persuasive images that tobacco companies use to promote their products.
Wendell C Balderas, Media and Communications Manager – SEATCA
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Mobile: +63 999 881 2117 ##
- SEATCA Tobacco Packaging and Labelling Index – https://goo.gl/CPVbHQ
- Guidelines for Implementation of Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products) – https://goo.gl/Sn5PtG
SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance promoting health and saving lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the evidence-based tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control movements in Southeast Asia, the WHO bestowed on SEATCA the World No Tobacco Day Award in 2004 and the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2014.