DOH Releases Graphic Health Warning Templates for Cigarette Packs

The Department of Health (DOH) has released the 12 graphic warning templates on the dangers of smoking that tobacco manufacturers have to print on cigarette packs in compliance with Republic Act 10643 or the Graphic Health Warning Law (GHW) passed three months ago.

The templates bear images depicting the ill effects of smoking on one’s health. Included are photos of people suffering from stroke, emphysema, mouth cancer, gangrene, impotence, throat cancer, neck cancer and premature birth, and low birth-weight of babies of smoking mothers.

In its Administrative Order 2014-0037, the DOH said the 12 templates shall be printed simultaneously and shall be rotated periodically for each brand family and for each variant of cigarette and other tobacco product packages.

“Graphic health warning shall be done without the use of any design that will effectively lessen the size of the warning or reduce its clarity and vividness,” the DOH order stated.

Tobacco companies are given one year to comply with the GHW Law after the release of the templates. Retailers, on their part, have another eight months to dispose of old stocks that do not have the picture warnings.

The law mandates that cigarette packaging should not have features that could modify the warning signs like heat-activated ink.

“Any ink used in the printing of the graphic health warning shall be of such quality that will not fade, bleed or modify the appearance of the warnings over time,” the DOH order said.

Violators will be meted with the following penalties:

  • A fine of not more than P500,000.00 for the first offense
  • A fine of not more than P1 million for the second offense
  • A fine of not more than P2 million or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, at the discretion of the court for the third offense: Provided, that the business permits and licenses, in the case of a business entity or establishment, shall be revoked or cancelled.