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Iris Valeriano Critique on Bills Prescribing Printing of Graphic Health Warnings Atty Camposano

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San Sebastian College-Recolletos Manila
College of Law
Legal Research
Atty. Catherine Camposano-Remigio

Title : A Critique on Bills Prescribing the Printing of Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco
Products
A Critique By: Iris Valeriano 1-B-1

The law prescribing the printing of graphic health warnings on tobacco products is not a
new in the international view. To be exact, it has been developing and being developed in 15
various countries all over the world.
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It is said that the printing of graphic health warnings are more effective than the textual
health warnings for other countries. Most of them have already been employed by other
countries and would not disagree to it. There has even been an article at the Journal of
Business Research distinguishing the effectiveness of Graphic Health Warnings and Textual
Health warnings that would agree on it.
2

According to Senator Pia Cayetanos explanatory note, the printing of graphic health
warnings on tobacco products is an improvement from Republic Act No. 9211 or The Tobacco
Regulation Act of 2003 which included the law in having textual health warning on cigarettes.
However, studies showed that textual health warnings are not effective. A multitude of smokers
does not even know that tobacco use is harmful and that most are unaware of its risks. Studies
have shown that picture based health warnings are more effective than text warnings alone. In
fact, it has been proven in certain studies that graphic health warnings are 60% more effective
than text health warnings.
3

The requirement in having graphic health warnings is based on Article 11 of the
Framework convention on Tobacco Control, and international treaty initiated by the World
Health Assembly. It is the first global public health agreement devoted entirely to tobacco
control and was participated in by 192 countries to which the Philippines is a signatory and are
obliged to comply with the implementation.

The bill basically intended to lessen the number of population engaged in tobacco
smoking and protect the Filipino people from the harm brought about by tobacco products by
furthering promoting right to health and information of the people and by taking out the
misleading terms about its health effects.
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FOOTNOTES
1. Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Panama, Thailand, , Uruguay
Venezuela and Switzerland. http://www.who.int/tobacco/tobacco_regulators_forum.pdf (page 2);
2. Despite strong interest on the part of tobacco health practitioners, the effect of graphic warnings inserted on cigarette packs is
unclear on several levels. First, the most effective themes for such messages have not been clearly identified by researchers. Second,
no research has identified the ideal combination of self-efficacy and fear appeal warnings that should be inserted on cigarette packs,
according to Protection Motivation Model principles. The exploratory study we conducted with French consumers to test the
effectiveness of new graphic warnings proposed by the European Union in 2004 clearly demonstrates that visual messages, as opposed
to text warnings, are more effective. This study also enabled us to identify the most effective themes of the European set: health
warnings and social messages. Regarding future public health applications, if fear appeals are used, they need to be combined with
self-efficacy and cessation support messages since they provoke avoidance reactions;
3. Explanatory Note, SBN 27, 16
th
Congress;
4. SBN 27, Section 3
Iris Valeriano Critique on Bills Prescribing Printing of Graphic Health Warnings Atty Camposano
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Distinguishing RA 10643, SBN 27 and HBN 4590

The paragraphs you are about to read are comparisons of the two bills and the finalized
republic act.

As of the title given for each, RA 10643 and HBN 4590 used the term Graphic instead
of SBN 27s term Picture-based
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. Obviously, the readings of the court decided to choose HBN
section 1 rather than RA 10643. According to Merriam Webster online, graphics relate to the
artistic use of pictures, shapes, and words especially in books and magazines.
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It is shown in a
clear way. The term graphic in the Graphic Health Warnings is the internationally accepted
term since most countries used the said term and I think the Philippines, as a signatory, chose
to follow in using the said term.
7

HBN 4590 lacks the declaration of Principles which both the RA and SBN agreed on.
The Republic Act basically copied that part from SBN in a verbatim manner. While in the
declaration of principles, even though only RA and SBN has it, RA chose other words and
deleted the strengthening of the role of the DOH in promoting the health of the Filipino people.
RA made it a bit shorter and clearer for the general public.
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As of definition, RA adopted the definitions written in SBN. It only changed the term
picture based to graphic. The definitions included in the HBN are more specific when it
comes to the type of package distinguished as of the material of which it is made of but it did not
included the communication inside and outside of the box (Insert, Onsert).
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Compared to the SBN and the HBN, SBN requires the tobacco companies to have their
picture-based/graphic warning to be 20% bigger than of that of the one required in HBN. Also,
the SBN provisions are much clearer than the HBN.

HBN focuses on the prohibition of the distribution/selling of cigarettes to minor. SBN did
not expressively state it.

As of descriptors, the HBN is more lenient when it comes to the time of having them
produced than the SBN. SBN is more specific with its provisions than the HBN, and it gives
much more weight regarding the penalty of tobacco companies.

Most of the published part of the RA agreed with the SBN. SBN and HBN have similar
parts but they do differ with some provisions.

SBN is easier to interpret since the terms you need to unlock are already in the text and
it specifically provides the necessities
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to make it easier to accomplish.





FOOTNOTES:
5. Section 1 of both SBN, HBN and RA;
6. Merriam Dictionary Online description of graphic : a : marked by clear lifelike or vividly realistic description
b : vividly or plainly shown or described <a graphic sex scene>;
7. http://www.who.int/tobacco/tobacco_regulators_forum.pdf page 2;
8. Sections 2 and 3 of both SBN and HBN;
9. Section 4 of SBN, Section 2 of HBN;
10. It provides provisions regarding agencies that would implement it and the process they will be doing in order to implement the said
law properly.
Iris Valeriano Critique on Bills Prescribing Printing of Graphic Health Warnings Atty Camposano
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CRITIQUE OF THE SENATE BILL NO. 27

Section 1 talks about the bill to be known as Picture-Based Health Warnings Bill
Warnings because it emphasizes on different causes of tobacco smoking. It is grammatically
correct but to the normal view it would have sound a bit erroneous. Graphic is more appropriate
since it was the term agreed upon the Philippines on the conference of countries advocating for
the said act with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sections 2 and 3 are very logical. It bares the very essence of protecting and promoting
health among the Philippine citizens. It also explains why this act was made. It also supports the
notion stated of Article 2, Section 15 of 1987 Philippine Constitution.
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Section 4 explains the definition pretty well. It can be interpreted in plain meaning and in
an ordinary dictionary except for the words insert and onsert to which the legislative body gave
new meanings to it.
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Section 5 shows the constitutionality of the act based on its coverage. It states that it is
only applicable to tobacco products that are locally manufactured or imported and introduced in
the Philippine market which is very constitutional for it constitutes article 14 of the Civil Code.
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Section 6-8 states that Graphic Health Warnings are to be printed on 60% of the
principal display surfaces of any tobacco package and 60% of the back panel, and that no
obscurity in covering in part of in whole, the Graphic Health Warnings or the location where the
internal revenue strip stamp is to be affixed as may be required of the BIR. All of these efforts
may be effective having the graphic display shown pack by pack. At first, I thought that it would
be done just from one side. Then I learned that it would be printed on the 60% of the whole
thing. Even people buying tobacco from the streets may see it unless they are inside vehicles
and that the package is covered by something else. Although they also stated provisions, I think
it would be more effective if they also made provisions of having them spread by social media
whether it be instagram, twitter, facebook, TV networks or the like.
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Most people have access
to these media. People in this generation are bound to social media that most forget to savour
the essence of real life observations.

Section 9 basically states that all of the packaging and labelling will be shouldered by
tobacco manufacturers and/or importers. Besides, they are already doing something that is
proprietary to them.








FOOTNOTES:
11. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instil health consciousness among them.
12. Article 4 of SBN 27
13. Insert was referred as any communication inside an individual package and/or carton purchased at either wholesale or retail
by consumers, such as a leaflet or a brochure; An onsert, on the other hand, is any communication affixed outside of an
individual package and/or carton purchased at either wholesale or retail by consumers, such as a brochure beneath the other
cellophane wrapping or glued to the outside of the cigarette package
14. Research on Social Media as a Potential Tool for Smoking Cessation
http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/abs/10.2217/ebo.13.195
Iris Valeriano Critique on Bills Prescribing Printing of Graphic Health Warnings Atty Camposano
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Sections 10-14 talks about the sanctions (prohibition, liability and penalties) when it
comes to the said law. I have nothing to say about the liability and the prohibitions. I think it is
just right. The penalties for non compliance on the other hand is too much. Php 1,000,000.00 for
a first offense is mind bottling as it is. 5 million and 20 million for the 2
nd
and 3
rd
offense is even
more mind bottling. With those provisions, manufacturers and importers have no choice but to
abide by the said rules. It even provides penalties for retailers/sellers of tobacco products as
well as their agents/representatives which is 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 depending on the
chronological order of the offense. The implications of this could cause tobacco products to
increase in price hence less sales and probably less people on their jobs on the tobacco
industry. It is just something that people have to weigh on. The possible contingency plan here
is to find other ways via the DOLE to get these people employed again in case they do have to
lay off employees. The charging of the penalty for agents/representatives is a bit too much as
well. As we all know, some of these people belong to the indigenous. They sell cigarettes
through the sidewalks. They may not afford the penalty and most likely end up in jail.


Sections 15-18 tackles on what is to happen after the act be held effective, the
guidelines that the DOH will use, what penalties will be implemented by the DOH, compliance
and inspection, and suitability of DOH, any public officer, or any person to violate the said act.

Section 19 states other obligation of tobacco industry.
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Section 20, 21, 22 are the three final parts of a law, separability clause, repealing clause
and effectivity which are most common to most laws created by legislative bodies

This law is practical in its nature. I really do hope that it will turn out to be effective not
just because it will safeguard our health, but also our environment. The only provisions that I
would change is the same as what RA 10643 had altered.

First of all the printing of the graphic health warning is too big that it leaves less space
for the tobacco manufacturers to promote their product. They are all businesses and too much
labelling could be too much costly on their shoulder. Therefore, it may raise its price. They might
have mass unemployment due to the said cause.

Second, the penalty is too much. Personally, I do not like smoking but there are people
selling these things in the streets and most of them are indigenous and so are the employees of
tobacco companies. They will suffer a lot as a consequence.

Third, it should not just be the DOH as an agency enforcing it. It should be a team effort.
They have to bring back the D.A.R.E. program
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back to the kids. Although the DSWD had been
trying to enforce it, I think it would help a lot if it will be brought back to life. It would not just
promote the information on the risks of smoking. It will also help in other social issues.

Other than these three, I would concur that this Act/Bills will be helpful to the Filipino
society.

FOOT NOTES:
15. Compliance with the Act shall not remove or diminish any other obligations of tobacco manufacturers, importers, distributors,
retailers, and sellers, including but not limited to, obligations to warn and inform consumers about the health hazards of tobacco use
and exposure to tobacco smoke.
16. Drug Abuse Resistance Education. http://www.philstar.com/education-and-home/2013/01/10/895255/dswd-pushes-bill-drug-
abuse-resistance-education-and