DOJ supports passage of Graphic Health Warnings Law

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, July 9 (PNA) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is fully supporting the passage of a legislation to effectively instill health consciousness through graphic health warnings on tobacco products.

This was the response of Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima to the request of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Michael G. Aguinaldo for the DOJ’s official position on the consolidated Senate Bill No. 27 and House Bill No. 4590 entitled “An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products” or “The Graphic Health Warnings Law”.

In her letter dated July 7, 2014, De Lima noted that the proposed legislation seeks to protect consumers from trade malpractices and substandard tobacco products by providing adequate information on the health consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

De Lima cited that it is in consonance with Section 15, Article II of the 1987 Constitution which provides that “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and shall instill health consciousness among them.”

She stressed that it is aimed to curb and reduce tobacco use by decreasing the attractiveness of cigarette smoking by means of graphic health warnings that effectively warn the people of the devastating effects of tobacco use and second hand smoke as well as remove misleading or deceptive numbers and descriptors which tend to convey that a product is healthier, less harmful or safer.

De Lima pointed out that in the same manner, it penalizes the sale and commercial distribution of tobacco products without the requisite graphic warnings.

The DOJ Chief emphasized that evidently, the current text warnings have proven to be insufficient in conveying the dangers of tobacco use.

De Lima added that the subject legislation took into consideration the fact that despite numerous public reports on the health consequences of tobacco use, smokers still tend to underestimate the severity and magnitude of the health risks.

She expounded that consequently, warning labels should contain clear, direct and accurate message depicting the hazards of tobacco use. (PNA)