MANILA – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has authorized a law mandating tobacco companies to print graphic warnings on packets.
Aquino, who signed the bill on Friday, has often been the subject of criticism for his own cigarette-smoking habit.
Campaigned for and long-awaited by health advocates, the bill requires tobacco companies to allocate approximately half the space on packets of cigarette and other tobacco products to warnings and explicit photographs of internal organs diseased from smoking.
The Philippine government has through the years exhibited a divergent stand towards smoking; with efforts such as the 2013 “sin tax” bill aimed at discouraging the practice, while on the other hand, ever-encouraging a strong tobacco-growing industry.
Initiated by Western countries, the “shock value” of graphic warnings has been employed by some developing nations, with the Philippines being the latest to follow suit.
In Indonesia, a similar law was passed in June of 2014, but was at first met with indifference by the public.
A 2009 survey reported that 28 percent of adult Filipinos are smokers. This figure is believed to be much higher, in reality,