THE implementation of Graphic Health Warning Law (RA 10643) on all tobacco products started on Thursday.
Co-chairperson of the Anti-Smoking Task Force Dr. Domilyn Villareiz, in a statement, said starting March 3, 2016, all products withdrawn from manufacturing facilities or imported for sale in the Philippines are required to carry the GHWs.
The said law requires that all tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and other forms of smoked and smokeless tobacco) locally produced or imported in the Philippine market should carry GHWs in their packaging.
Based on the GHW Law, the graphic health warning must cover 50 percent of the front and 50 percent of the back of the tobacco packages and must occupy the lower portion of such packages.
The 12 GHWs published by the Department of Health (DOH) that depict many harms of cause by tobacco use, such as mouth and throat cancer, stroke, emphysema, impotence, hand/foot gangrene, and low birth weight and preterm birth must be used.
Each picture is accompanied by a related text message in Filipino (on the front) and English (on the back).
Through GHW Law, 12 GHWs must be printed simultaneously and with equal frequency for two years and will be replaced by new set of GHWs every two years.
The GHW Law also requires one side panel of the pack to contain additional information such as additional health warnings, a hotline/website on tobacco-related concerns and tips for quitting tobacco use.
Starting on Thursday, all misleading numbers or descriptors such as "light", "low tar", "ultra", and "mild" (for example, Brand M Lights or Mild Brand) are prohibited because they give a false impression of being healthier or safer, even if they are not so.
Sanctions for manufacturers and retailers will also be imposed.
Manufacturers and importers who will violate this law will pay a fine of not more than P500,000 for the first offense, a fine of not more than 1 million pesos, and for the second offense, a fine of not more than P2 million or imprisonment of not more than five years or both and revocation/cancellation of business permits and deportation of foreign nationals will be imposed for the third offense.
Retailers will also pay of a fine of not more than P10,000 for the first offense, not more than P50,000 for the second offense, and a fine of not more than P100,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year or both, and revocation of business permits and licenses for third offense.
Beginning March 3, 2016, all tobacco products withdrawn from manufacturing facilities or imported for sale in the Philippines are required to carry the new GHWs and on November 4, 2016, all tobacco products displayed or sold in the Philippines must carry the new GHWs, and manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers are required by law to remove non-compliant packages. (KVC)