AMID the emergence of electronic cigarettes and vapes, the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reminded tobacco industry players to start preparing for the third batch of graphic health warnings (GHW) to be placed in cigarette packs beginning March 2020.
In an interview, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said tobacco companies are advised to secure a copy of the templates as soon as possible.
“We are already set to change our picture warnings. So we are reminding tobacco companies regarding their packagings that the latest GHW templates are already available and are for implementation already,” said Domingo.
Based on Administrative Order No. 2019-0009, the third batch of GHW templates should be used starting March 4, 2020 until March 3, 2022.
The new batch of templates shall feature images of gangrene, breast cancer, death, emphysema, neck cancer, heart attack, premature birth, low birth weight, nicotine stain, and throat cancer.
To note, the second batch of GHW templates currently in use are already set to expire on March 3, 2020.
And according to Domingo, the regular changing of GHWs is necessary to prevent the public from being desensitized with the pictures of the harms of tobacco use.
“Even if they are scary, if you already see them on a daily basis, after a while, it will lose its effect. Smokers, especially the youth, get desensitized,” said the health official.
“So we want to remind the public of the dangers of smoking by putting out new graphic health warnings,” added Domingo.
Under Republic Act No. 10643, cigarette and other tobacco packagings are required to prominently feature graphic health warnings on the devastating effects of tobacco use.
Also, DOH Administrative Order No. 2014-0037 states that the health department will be issuing new sets of GHW templates every two years and must be used by all manufacturers, importers, and distributors of tobacco products.