Graphic health warnings (GWH) on cigarette packs will finally be implemented starting March 3, according to a report published in the Department of Health (DOH) website.
Alex Padilla, chair of the DOH-GHW Implementing Rules And Regulations (IRR) committee, stressed the importance of the GHW law in curbing tobacco use through scary lung disease-related visuals.
"The release of the IRR means that beginning first week of March, no cigarette packages may be imported, stored or warehoused without GHW requisite, (and) by November no violative package should be sold to the public," said Padilla.Emer Rojas, head of the anti-smoking campaign group New Vois Asssociation of the Philippines, expressed his gratitude for the much-awaited implementation.
In an interview with Philippine Star, Rojas said: "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."
"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.
Based on Republic Act No. 10643, manufacturers, importers, and distributors that will violate the law will face the fine of not more than P2 million or imprisonment of not more than five years or both depending on the discretion of the court. Meanwhile, erring retailers will face a fine of not more than P100,000 or one year imprisonment.
The implementation comes after a study that showed that 240 Filipinos die from tobacco-related diseases each day.