The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) is urging local government officials to pass local ordinances encouraging the placing of graphic health warnings (GHWs) at the point-of-sale (POS) of tobacco products.

According to NVAP President Emer Rojas, it is necessary for local governments to also place GHWs in POS in order to warn the public of the dangers of cigarette smoking.

“It will be a good complement for the forthcoming placing of picture warnings in cigarette packs since sixty-seven percent (67%) of Filipinos continue to patronize the ‘tingi-tingi’ system in buying their cigarettes,” said Rojas.

“By having GHW-like warnings in POS, he noted that the effectiveness of the GHW law shall be enhanced by 300%, ” Rojas added.

Rojas further added that the picture health warnings at sari-sari stores and ambulant vendors may effectively counter the recent re-emergence of POS outdoor advertisements of cigarette products.

“We have noticed the recent aggressive tobacco ads in retail stores of competing tobacco companies. People should be warned, especially the youth on the consequences of this deadly addiction” said the NVAP head.

To recall, the NVAP served a key role in pushing for the passage of the GHW law (Republic Act 10643) which makes it mandatory for cigarette manufacturers to place pictorial warnings on the ill-effects of smoking in cigarette packs.

Rojas said such ordinances are vital in countering the continued increase in the number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) especially cancer.

“The rise in NCDs in the country is already alarming. We need to explore all the avenues to discourage the public, especially our youth, from even trying the smoking vice,” said Rojas.

According to the Tobacco Atlas, more than 505,600 children and more than 15,570,000 adults continue to use tobacco in the Philippines.

The Tobacco Atlas also said more than 71,850 Filipinos are being killed by tobacco-related illnesses every year.

Four major types of NCDs, namely cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, have been found to be responsible for 82 percent of NCD deaths by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Specifically, the WHO noted that smoking is estimated to cause about 71 percent of all lung cancer deaths; 42 percent of chronic respiratory disease; and nearly 10 percent of cardiovascular diseases.