17 August 2008

Green Groups Back Graphic Picture Warnings vs Smoking

Quezon City. Advocates for a toxics-free environment throw their support behind a legislative proposal to use hard-hitting pictorial warnings versus the health hazards of tobacco addiction and of passive smoking.

Members of the EcoWaste Coalition, a proponent of Zero Waste and chemical safety, back the introduction of graphic health warnings in cigarette packs to dissuade Filipinos, especially the children and youth, from even trying to smoke.

The statement of support from the green groups follows the launch last Friday of the “Death Clock” by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP), along with the Department of Health and the Manila City Government, to raise awareness about the lethal effects of smoking.

“Visual health warnings are really necessary to make people aware of what they are getting into before adopting the habit,” Tessa Oliva of Miriam College’s Public Education and Awareness Campaign for the Environment (Miriam-PEACE) said.

Film actor Roy Alvarez of the Earth Renewal Project finds picture-based health advisory essential “para tumalab” (to effectively drive the message), saying that “we should even add information about toxins in smoke and statistics on people with lung cancer, including those who die every year because of tobacco-related illnesses.”

Celebrity environmentalist Chin-Chin Gutierrez of the group Alaga LAHAT believed that graphic picture warnings “can actually deter people, particularly the young clients, from getting addicted to tobacco.”

According to a statement released by the EcoWaste Coalition, the proposed measure is in step with the constitutional duty and moral obligation of the state to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.”

“The bill further fills the need of consumers to be protected against hazards to health and safety and to be provided with information to facilitate sound choice and the exercise of their rights as embodied in the Consumer Act of the Philippines,” the group stressed.

“Many countries, including our neighbors Singapore and Thailand, now require graphic warning labels on cigarette packs to inform their citizens about the risk and severity of smoking-related diseases. It’s high time that we follow suit and save our people from the horror of tobacco addiction,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The other groups supporting effective pictorial warnings on both sides of cigarette packs include the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Environmental Advocates Reaching Towards Humanity - UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Care Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, Philippine Nurses Association, Sagip Pasig Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan, Soljuspax and Zero Waste Philippines.


EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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