Manila, 9 March 2018: The Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) is misleading the public to delay the implementation of new Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) on tobacco packages, according to the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).
Apparently PTI has misread and misinterpreted the GHW Law (RA 10643), which in Section 15 states: “Manufacturers are given a period of one (1) year from the issuance of the initial set of templates to comply therewith. The initial set of templates is valid for two (2) years from implementation.” Given that the initial or first set of templates was issued by Department of Health (DOH) on March 3, 2016, and that the validity of this first set expired after two years, the new (second) set of templates should come into force on March 3, 2018.
In its statement published in the Manila Bulletin last 6 March 2018, PTI had incorrectly asserted that “the law clearly states that the graphic health warnings should be on cigarette packs manufactured one year following the issuance of the templates by the DOH. Hence, based on the issuance date of the DOH, the effectivity should be on September 10, 2018 for manufacturers and importers to comply with.” PTI also claimed that SEATCA and Philippine public health think-tank HealthJustice are “completely inaccurate and will only create confusion” by stating that the compliance deadline for manufacturers and importers is March 3, 2018.
“Clearly, PTI is wrong and is the one causing confusion,” said Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, FCTC Program Director of SEATCA. “The law is very clear that the first set of GHWs is effective only for two years from implementation, so the new set should be enforced by 3 March 2018.”
“Therefore, tobacco manufacturers and importers that produce or import tobacco products without the new GHWs by 3 March 2018 must already be fined or prosecuted,” added Dorotheo.
Misinformation and creating confusion are common tactics used by the tobacco industry to weaken and delay government regulation of its deadly products.
- 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.