"We did not regulate tobacco before but because of the health implications of tobacco use and because the DoH has the responsibility to safeguard public health and make its effects preventable, it (the DoH) is going to do this through the FDA," said Lazo.
With the new mandate, the FDA could examine the nicotine levels or any substance in cigarettes that pushed "people to smoke more," she said, adding that the agency would reinforce its partnership with other agencies, including the US-FDA to regulate tobacco use.
It will also strictly implement an administrative order requiring graphic health warnings on all cigarette packs distributed in the country once it has hurdled legal battles it was currently facing.
The use of graphic warning signs has been provided for under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which the Philippines is a signatory.
But several tobacco manufacturers sued the DoH, questioning the validity of the administrative order. (Philippines - tobacco industry has obtained temporary relief from placing graphic warnings on cigarette packs..)
Aside from its mandate to regulate tobacco use, the FDA has also been empowered to seize and hold in custody without court order food, cosmetic products and pharmaceutical items found to be violating existing rules and regulations and those deemed unsafe for public consumption.
The enhanced IRR also allows the FDA director to hold in contempt any person who ignores orders and writs issued by the agency. his would provide an effective deterrent to prohibited acts defined in the laws the agency has been tasked to implement, said Lazo.
Reference: Tighter regulation of tobacco, cigarette manufacturing approved by Jocelyn R. Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4/16/2011.
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Philippines - remarks at the Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health..;
Philippines - Commission on Human Rights (CHR) support placing graphic warnings on cigarette packs...;
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Philip Morris Philippines..;
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Philippines - DOH campaign for 100% smoke-free workplaces..;
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