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Aquino signs law on graphic warnings on tobacco products


Malacañang on Sunday announced that President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law R.A. 10643, or “An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products.”

The Graphic Health Warning Act is the second smoking-related law signed by Aquino, who is a known smoker who refuses to quit despite calls from health advocates. Two years ago, Aquino signed the controversial Sin Tax Law, which increased excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products.

Early in June, both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bill requiring tobacco companies to put picture-based health warnings on cigarette packs.

In the Senate, 18 members unanimously approved the bill which seeks to "instill health consciousness" among Filipinos by directing cigarette manufacturers to print pictures illustrating the ill effects of smoking on the packages of their products.

The measure – authored by Senate President Franklin Drilon, and Senators Pia Cayetano and Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV – underwent two major amendments before being approved by the Senate.

The amendments were proposed by Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who hails from the tobacco-producing province of Cagayan.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, 210 lawmakers approved the bill. Prior to its consolidation, there were 11 versions of the graphic warning bill.

In the ratified version of the Senate, cigarette manufacturers will be required to use half of a cigarette pack’s display area for pictures showing the ill effects of smoking.

The graphic health warnings should appear on the lower portion of the front and back panels of the cigarette packs, based on the reconciled version of the bill.

The measure also provides twelve different versions of the graphic health warnings, to be changed every two years. — Patricia Denise Chiu /LBG, GMA News
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