Philippines signs into law graphic health warnings

U.S. Department of Health and Services

A Philippine law requiring manufacturers to display graphic health warnings on cigarette packs came into force on Friday. The law requires cigarette manufacturers to display pictures showing the harmful effects of smoking on half of both sides of cigarette packets. This is another milestone for the Philippines following the law raising tobacco taxes signed in 2013.

“This development brings us closer to our dream of cleaner air and a healthier people.” said the Philippine Department of Health Secretary Enrique T Ona.

The use of tobacco is responsible for many chronic and severe conditions such as lung cancer, heart and respiratory diseases. With an average of 240 Filipinos dying every day from smoking related diseases, the law will be able to raise awareness about the risks of smoking.

WHOs priorities in tobacco control are to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, and to help people reduce their use of tobacco or stop completely. Research has shown that picture-based warnings are effective in motivating smokers to quit and in reducing the appeal of tobacco use for people who are not yet addicted.

Dr Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines said, “Having these visible pictures so that people really understand the fact that smoking kills is very important and incredibly powerful. Stopping people from taking up smoking and encouraging smokers to quit saves lives and saves money that can be spent tackling other health challenges. We continue to work closely with the Government of the Philippines and strongly support their pioneering work in the country to end tobacco use.”