The Department of Health (DOH) continues to guard the days until full implementation of Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) Law as it will not only help stop the illicit trade of tobacco products in the country but ultimately advance the health of Filipinos by highlighting the ill effects of smoking.
“We already gained from our strong efforts to control tobacco use in the country, we will not waste that. Aside from the Sin Tax Reform law, we believe the GHW law will be of great help especially in reminding Filipinos not to engage in smoking and to those who are smoking, to eventually quit.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto Garin said.
GHW, also known as Republic Act No. 10643 (RA 10643), is an act that seeks to effectively instill health consciousness through graphic health warnings on tobacco products.
The health chief adds that as far the GHW law is concerned, its full implementation will commence on March 2016, following DOH’s republication of the GHW templates last March 2015. These templates will appear on cigarette packs for two years.
Among the technical specifications mentioned under the GHW law include: printing of GHW on fifty percent (50%) of the principal display surfaces of any tobacco products and shall occupy fifty percent (50%) of the front and fifty percent (50%) of the back panel of the tobacco package; and shall be printed in four colors.
The Health Secretary likewise cites Administrative Order No. 2014-0037 as a clear basis of the date of implementation as it requires “graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and other tobacco product packages one (1) year after the issuance of the templates by the Department of Health.”
Moreover, eight (8) months after the initial implementation of GHW, all tobacco products in the market and all products to be distributed must have the proper graphic labels and packages. If not, it will be considered illegal and will incur fines.
“The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the GHW is already set and shall be strictly implemented.” says Garin.
The GHW intends to effectively warn people on the devastating effects of tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke. It also aims to remove misleading or deceptive descriptors like “low tar”, “light”, “ultra lights” or “mild” which convey that a tobacco product is healthier, less harmful or safer.
“The DOH is very critical with the technical specifications and details of the GHW templates. We do not want to deprive our Filipino people of effective health warnings they longed to have,” Garin concluded.
– DOH Philippines