Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014 file photo, health advocates, including cancer survivors, gather for a rally outside the Commission on Human Rights office at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines to push for the inclusion of a legislative measure that will mandate tobacco firms to put graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. A Philippine legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 that would compel cigarette manufacturers to print illustrations of smoking hazards on cigarette packs to curb smoking in a country where tens of thousands die yearly from tobacco-related diseases. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)
Philippines may soon make smoking warnings graphic
First Published Jun 10 2014 08:57 am • Last Updated Jun 10 2014 08:57 am

Manila, Philippines • A Philippine legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would compel cigarette manufacturers to print illustrations of smoking hazards on cigarette packs to curb smoking in a country where tens of thousands die yearly from tobacco-related diseases.

The committee composed of both senators and congressmen passed the bill directing the Department of Health to issue 12 templates of pictures and illustrations that warn about the dangers of smoking.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The full Senate and House of Representatives are expected to formally pass the bill before it is signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III, who backed an earlier "sin tax" law that raised taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.

The illustrations, which could include pictures of cancerous lungs and throats, will occupy the lower half of the front and back panels of a cigarette pack. The current warning contains only words, saying that smoking is dangerous.

Philippine health officials said in 2012 that 17.3 million of the country’s 96 million people smoke — one of Southeast Asia’s highest rates — and 87,000 die per year from tobacco-related diseases.

"This is a big victory for health advocates," said Dr. Anthony Leachon, president of the Philippine College of Physicians.

Leachon said images of damaged body parts, such as before-and-after pictures of a lung ravaged by smoking, will have a greater impact, especially on non-smokers.

The bill also instructs the Department of Education to include the hazards of smoking in the school curriculum.

In recent years, more than 40 countries or jurisdictions have introduced cigarette labels with graphic anti-smoking warnings. The World Health Organization said in a survey done in countries with graphic labels that a majority of smokers noticed the warnings and more than 25 percent said the warnings led them to consider quitting.

The Philippine bill follows the passage in late 2012 of a "sin tax" law, which raised the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products to discourage their use and raise revenues for health programs.

story continues below
story continues below

A recent survey commissioned by the Department of Health indicated that the law helped reduce smoking among the poor and young people, the main targets of the law.

It said that smoking prevalence among the very poor dropped from 38 percent in December 2012 to 25 percent in March this year. Smoking among people aged 18 to 24 also fell from 35 percent to 18 percent during the same period.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.