By Analou De Vera
Graphic health warnings (GHW) on cigarette packs have proven to be effective in informing smokers about the dangers of smoking since the GHW law was implemented two years ago, health advocacy groups said.
“We are now seeing less smokers and those who are just going to start smoking hesitating in lighting up cigarettes and puffing them,” said New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president Emer Rojas.
Rojas added that it shows that the public are now more aware about the ailments caused by smoking “as they can see from the GHWs.”
This was seconded by Jorge Banal of the Federation of Senior Citizens, who wished that GHWs have been introduced decades earlier.
“During our time, smoking is the norm. Senior citizens, who smoke, benefit from GHWs too since we realize that smoking causes diseases and death, which is contrary to the advertisements we often see decades ago, which lured some of us to smoking,” Banal said.
The Republic Act 10643 (GHW law) was signed in 2014 but was fully enforced on March 3, 2016. The law, meanwhile, requires tobacco companies to carry out new batch of graphic label warnings every two years.
“We call on tobacco companies to ensure compliance with the law. It calls for a new batch of templates every two years to sustain its effectiveness by maintaining public interest. We expect that the new batch of pictures will start coming out in the market any time now,” Rojas said.
“Antismoking groups, including New Vois, will be doing our part in ensuring that the GHW law is not being disregarded in the streets, but rather maximize effectiveness and its gains sustained,” he said.