WHO wants cigarette packaging made plain
AS THE country moves full-steam toward implementation of the graphic health warnings law, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to get ready to shift to plain packaging for tobacco products.
For the observance of World No Tobacco Day today, the WHO underscored plain cigarette packaging as an important demand reduction measure that would bring down smoking rates and stop new smokers from taking up the deadly habit by reducing the appeal of tobacco products.
It noted that plain packaging would restrict the use of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion and would also limit misleading labeling and increase the effectiveness of health warnings.
The WHO defines plain packaging of tobacco products as a measure restricting or prohibiting the use of logos, colors, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and font style.
For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said the country had started implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) law, which requires that graphic photos showing the ill effects of smoking on the body shall be displayed on the tobacco products packaging.
“While the WHO is gearing toward plain packaging, the country’s celebration of this important event on tobacco prevention and control will focus on the full implementation of the GHW law,” the DOH said.
Under the GHW law, tobacco firms are prohibited from manufacturing or importing cigarette packs without the mandated graphic warnings starting March 3 this year. Eight months after or by Nov. 4, all cigarette products without picture-based warnings should have been removed from the market.
But antismoking group New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) on Monday said the country could be the first in Asia to adopt plain packaging for cigarette packs.
“Despite the positive response to GHW-compliant packs, we must not sit on our laurels but rather move steps further by considering plain packaging of cigarette packs,” said NVAP president Emer Rojas in a statement.