The health department became firm in its decision to decrease the smoking-related diseases by attempting for an administrative regulation forcing cigarette makers to put graphic warnings on all cigarettes packs.
The Department of Health (DOH) declared that the new legislation would be issuing Administrative Order (AO) No. 2010-0013, a regulation requiring Tobacco Industries to show pictures of illnesses attributed to smoking on all cigarette pack.
A lot of studies found that smoking and even exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to various preventable illnesses like respiratory illness, heart diseases, and also cancer.
The text warnings would look in this way: “Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health” and also will be accompanied by the graphic picture warnings.
The graphic picture warnings will show rotting teeth and gums, a premature baby, diseased organs, a bed-ridden man undergoing treatment in hospital, and smoking-damaged hearts.
Thirty days from the AO’s realization, tobacco companies are banned from selling tobacco products without graphic warnings.
For example, the Philippines signed an international treaty, the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in 2005. The new pact covers anti-smoking efforts, like putting up of picture graphics on the cigs pack.
While the Philippines has passed the Tobacco Regulation Act before, or Republic Act (R.A. 9211), in 2003, this new law restricted the health warnings on the pack to text.
Text warnings are smoother than the FCTC guideline that asks for picture warnings, which had been found to be more efficient than the current text warnings. Almost all the smokers in the Philippines belong to the lower economic classes, some of whom do not understand all the texts in English.
Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral declared that the deadline to enforce the FCTC’s guideline to require the printing of graphic warnings on cigarette packs should have started in 2008, but this was opposed by tobacco companies.
The new anti-smoking regulations want to cover with graphic warning at least 50% of the cigarette packs. But manufacturers explained that placing colored pictures is very costly, while some congressmen required that the measure would kill the livelihood of tobacco farmers, majority of them from the Ilocos region in the North.
Anti-smoking officials declared that the cigarette companies like Fortune Tobacco International and Philip Morris Philippines have been manufacturing cigarette packs with graphic health warnings for export abroad only.
Statistics show that approximately 5 million people worldwide die from smoking-related illnesses yearly. Almost 90,000 of these deaths are from the Philippines.