City anti-smoking initiative get boost from Senate

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


ILOILO CITY – The battle against tobacco smoking goes on here as the City Government recently gets added boost from the Senate through the graphic based health warning bill.

The bill mandating Graphic Health Warnings (GHW)  was passed on third and final reading last June 4, 2014 calling for manufacturers of tobacco products to display picture-based health warnings in full color with accompanying text warnings on 50 percent of their principal display surfaces.

Under the bill, cigarette packages are prohibited from bearing any descriptors or numbers such as, but not limited to low tar, light, ultra-light, mild or extra or ultra and similar terms that claims or misleads a consumer to believe that a tobacco product or variant is healthier, safe or less harmful.

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The bill also states that no cigarette packs or other tobacco packages shall contain information that may imply that one variant or brand is healthier, less harmful or safer than the other.

Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) Executive Director Inigo Garingalao said the bill will help push city initiatives and campaign against smoking of tobacco and tobacco products.

Garingalao said that Iloilo City has a sustaining program against smoking and is working hard to become a smoke-free city. The City Council had passed a number of ordinances and resolutions calling for smoking regulations working towards eradication of smoking in the city.

Senator Pia Cayetano, the principal sponsor of the bill, said the imposition of graphic health warnings at the front part of cigarette packages is aimed at deterring smokers from starting the vice and being addicted to it as well as encourage existing smokers to drop the habit.

The warnings will show the dangers of tobacco smoking or passive smoking.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, co-author and co-sponsor of the measure, said it was necessary to address the estimated P188 billion in annual health care expenses and productivity losses that cigarette smoking is responsible for.

Drilon said the text warning accompanying the picture would be appropriately worded so that an ordinary layman will understand the ill-effects of smoking.

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