Press Release
January 21, 2014

Sen. Pia presses new fight for the Graphic Health Warning Bill

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is gearing up for a new fight for the passage of the Graphic Health Warning (GHW) Bill, a measure that mandates all cigarette packs sold in the country to bear picture warnings on the hazards of smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke.

Led by the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, the joint panel on Wednesday will conduct its initial public hearing on Cayetano's Senate Bill No. (SBN) 27 and SBN 499, authored by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

"This will be 'round three' for the GHW Bill which failed to pass in the 14th and 15th Congress due to strong resistance from the tobacco industry," the senator said. "I hope that this time around, we will have more colleagues who are ready to support the GHW Bill in the interest of public health."

She noted that the measure seeks to complement the Sin Tax Reform Act (Republic Act 10351), which Cayetano and Drilon helped pass in the 15th Congress.

SBN 27 requires cigarette and tobacco product packages to bear full-color graphic health warnings occupying at least 60 percent of the upper front and 60 percent of the upper back panels of the packaging.

The warning should consist of a photographic warning showing the health dangers of tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke, and a textual warning related to the picture. Both components should comply with guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DOH). Cayetano explained: "Cigarette labels are now only required by law to bear text warnings which have proven insufficient in conveying the dangers of tobacco use. In contrast, studies have proven graphic or picture-based health warnings to be more effective in convincing smokers to quit and discouraging non-smokers from taking up the habit."

Representatives from Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. Inc., British American Tobacco-Philippines, Japan Tobacco International, and Mighty Corporation have confirmed their attendance, as well as cancer survivors' support groups, tobacco control advocates, and health experts.

Officials from the DOH, Food and Drugs Administration, Department of Trade and Industry, National Tobacco Administration and Commission on Human Rights are also expected to attend on Wednesday.

News Latest News Feed