Graphic health warning law takes effect today

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Starting today, local and imported cigarettes shall be contained in packaging with graphic health warnings or photographs showing the health risks of smoking.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said the green light is on for the initial implementation of the Graphic Health Warning Law, which requires tobacco companies to print 12 graphic health warning templates on cigarette packages.

“What is expected of the graphic health warning is to convey the visual message – that this can happen to you if you continue smoking,” Garin said.

According to Alexander Padilla, former undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH), only the first phase of the law would be implemented today – the ban on the manufacture and importation of products without the graphic health warning.

Old packaging would still be available in the market because the tobacco industry was given time to dispose of their old stock.

Based on the law, the absolute prohibition on the retail sale of tobacco products with GHW shall start on Nov. 3.

Padilla, who headed the Implementing Rules and Regulations Committee of the law, also reminded the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs that they are the lead agencies that would oversee the implementation of the law because tobacco products pass through them for the stamps.

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