Tobacco firms required to show graphic warnings on smoking risks

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“Time is finally up for tobacco companies,” an advocacy group declared on Wednesday, a day before the implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) Law.

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The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) said they are expecting tobacco companies to comply with the law starting November 5 (Thursday) and come up with batches of cigarette packs containing GHW templates.

“All cigarette packs coming out of the cigarette factories should bear pictorial health warnings to show the harmful effects of smoking. This means it is now illegal for tobacco companies to release products that do not have graphic health warnings,” Emer Rojas, NVAP president, said in a statement.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed into law Republic Act 10643, or the GHW Law, on July 15, 2014.

Once implemented, graphic text and picture health warnings will be printed in all cigarette packs, covering 50 percent of the bottom front and back panels of the pack as part of an ongoing tobacco regulation advocacy in the country.

The Department of Health (DOH) provided 12 templates on November 4, 2014 that will be printed on the cigarette packs once the law takes effect.

The templates contain images of people suffering stroke, emphysema, mouth cancer, gangrene, impotence, throat cancer, neck cancer and premature birth and low-weight babies of smoking mothers.

“[The law] aims to inform the public of the harms brought about by smoking. GHW pictures save lives by reducing risks of non-communicable diseases like cancer and lung diseases due to smoking,” Rojas said.

NVAP is a cancer-prevention and tobacco-control advocacy group comprised mainly of throat-cancer victims or people without vocal chords who speak through alternate means. JACQUELINE BOUVIER ARIAS

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