MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Majority of Filipino youths support the implementation of Graphic Health Warnings (GHWs) on cigarette packs, a recent Social Weather Station survey revealed.
The survey conducted nationwide among Filipinos aged 13 – 17 years old shows that the youth believe Graphic Health Warnings on cigarette packs will effectively prevent the increase of smokers in the country (88% of current youth smokers, 78% of previous smokers, and 82% of non-smokers.
When current youth smokers were asked if they would continue smoking upon seeing GHWs on their cigarette packs, 49% answered that they will stop smoking. This is a huge increase from the 34% who answered the same in a similar survey conducted in August 2012. Meanwhile, about 47% had indicated that they would reduce their cigarette consumption.
Majority of the young respondents agreed that Congress should pass a law that will require tobacco companies to affix on cigarette packs photos of diseases caused by smoking (88% of current smokers, 93% of previous smokers, and 88% of non-smokers).
“The survey results show that even kids believe the necessity of putting graphic health warnings on tobacco packages. Our leaders should listen to the voice of the youth and recognize the right to information and right to health through the passage of the GHW law,” said Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice.
Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Project Director at the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, added “Congress should pass not just any law on Graphic Health Warnings but one requiring very large warnings (such as in Brunei, Australia, Canada, or Uruguay) in order to effectively discourage Filipinos, especially our youth, from smoking. The evidence is clear: larger health warnings are more effective in communicating the harmful effects of tobacco.”
The Philippines is a Party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but has yet to enact a law mandating effective health warnings on tobacco product packages. Currently, the Philippines only requires text warnings, which have been proven to be ineffective in providing the proper information about the dangers of smoking. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are currently deliberating the proposed bills requiring GHWs.