A lawmaker is pushing anew for the inclusion of graphic warnings on cigarette packs, to dissuade people from smoking.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas filed House Bill 3715 which requires picture-based warnings on all cigarette packs to add to textual warnings and raise public awareness of smoking effects.
“We in the government must do our best to inform the public of the health hazards associated with tobacco products,” Treñas said, clarifying that the move was not an attack on the tobacco industry.
The graphic warning shall describe the harmful effects of tobacco use and should occupy at least 50 percent of the pack in both the front and back panel.
The pictures including their resolution, size and location within the principal display area, must conform with guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health.
“Non-price measures, such as the inclusion of picture-based warnings in the packaging of tobacco products, are recognized by the FCTC [the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization]and the international community as an effective means to reduce tobacco consumption,” Treñas said.
The congressman is referring to the Sin Tax Reform Act which has raised the price of “sin” products such as alcohol and tobacco. This year the price of cigarettes is pegged at P15 per pack, and P18 effective in 2015.
Under the measure, tobacco package manufacturers and importers will exclusively shoulder the printing of a minimum of eight graphic warning variations, which will be rotated periodically for each brand.
If they do not comply, they will be fined from P1 million to P20 million and they will face revocation of business permit and license to operate for the third offense.
Those who will sell, distribute or display any tobacco product without the proper package warnings or even obscure or cover the warnings within the selling area will be fined from P100,000 to P2 million and will suffer revocation of business permit and license to operate.
The bill is now pending with the House committee on health.
A similar bill was sponsored in the Senate earlier this month—the Picture-Based Health Warning Act of 2013 authored by Sen. Franklin Drilon.