WITH the full implementation yesterday of the Graphic Health Warning (GHW) law, a group of cancer survivors has reiterated their call for manufacturers, distributors and retailers of tobacco products to comply with the said law.
New Vios Association of the Philippines (NVAP) President Emer Rojas said while legitimate points of sale in Metro Manila have started complying with the law, ambulant vendors and many retailers in the provinces are still non-compliant.
“We want to reiterate our call to distributors to recall non-compliant cigarette packs from retailers and at the same time make the same appeal to retailers to refuse receiving products without graphic health warnings,” Rojas said.
A victim of smoking himself, Rojas said the tobacco industry was given more than enough time to comply with Republic Act 10643 or the Graphic Health Warnings Law since it was enacted in July 2014.
The law imposes a maximum penalty of P2 million or a five-year imprisonment and revocation of business permit against manufacturers, exporters and distributors of tobacco products who violate it.
“We are glad to monitor that all local manufacturers and large importers are complying. However, it is also their obligation to make sure that their distributors recall all unsold non-compliant cigarette packs in the retail market.” Rojas said.
On the other hand, retailers will face a fine of P10,000 for the first offense; P50,000 for the second offense; and P100,000 for the third offense or one year jail term.
Considered a breakthrough in the fight to protect public health from the dangerous effects of smoking and effectively defying a very strong tobacco lobby, RA10643 was meant to complement the amended sin tax law that was enacted in 2012.