Graphic health warning to take effect next month
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – More smokers are likely to quit their dangerous habit once the law requiring cigarette manufacturers to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packs takes effect in March.

The tobacco industry earlier threatened to stop the implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings Law if the government fails to come out with implementing rules and regulations.

But Emer Rojas, president of anti-smoking group New Vois Association of the Philippines, said the non-availability of the implementing rules and regulations does not prevent the law from being implemented.

“Finally, after much drama and delaying tactics, the law is now enforceable. And with graphic health warnings, Filipinos, especially the youth and children, will be provided with effective warnings against smoking,” Rojas said.

“We hope to see more smokers choosing to quit and children avoiding to start nicotine addiction because they don’t want to end up like the person they saw on the packages,” he added.

Manufacturers, exporters and distributors of tobacco products that will violate the law will face a maximum penalty of P2 million or five-year imprisonment and revocation of business permit.

A fine of P500,000 will be imposed for the first offense and P1 million for the second offense.

Erring retailers will face fines of P10,000 for the first offense; P50,000 for the second offense and P100,000 for the third offense or a one-year jail term. 

A foreign officer of a company manufacturing, distributing or exporting tobacco products who will be found guilty of violating the law will face deportation after serving the jail sentence and paying appropriate fines.    

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