More solons want graphic warnings on cigarettes
MANILA, Philippines – Moves to put graphic pictures on tobacco products gained ground in the House of Representatives, as another solon joined the anti-smoking campaign in the lower chamber.
Iloilo city Representative Jerry Treñas filed House Bill 3715, which seeks to put picture-based warnings on all packages of tobacco products to convince smokers to quit.
The graphic pictures, which would show the ill effects of smoking, should comply with the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health, the bill read.
For one, the warnings should occupy half of the display area in the front and back of the product, the bill said. The warning text should also be clear and readable.
The measure also mandates tobacco manufacturers to shoulder the printing costs.
The move was made as a sin tax law is in effect, which increased the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products to jack up its price and dissuade consumers from vices.
The lawmaker said his bill is in accordance to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, of which the Philippines is a signatory.
Tobacco manufacturers and importers who violate the measure may be penalized with P1 million for the first offense, P5 million for the second offense, and P20 million for the third offense, during which the business permit and license may be revoked.
Meanwhile, any person caught selling tobacco products without the graphic warning may be penalized with P100,000 (first offense), P500,000 (second offense) and P2 million (third offense) with revocation of business operations.
“We in the government must do our best to inform the public of the health hazards associated with tobacco products,” Treñas said in a statement on Friday.
At least 10 other similar bills have been pending before the House committee on health.
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