On Wednesday 23 February, just two days after the national tobacco control law went into effect, the Honduras Congress voted to approve an amendment to the law that reduces the required pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages from 80 per cent to 50 per cent.
The new amendment also provides the tobacco industry three more months to meet the new warning label requirements.With this amendment, the Honduras Congress has favoured the interests of the tobacco industry over the health of the citizens of Honduras. In Honduras, 36 percent of males and 11 percent of females smoke. With tobacco killing 14,000 people a day worldwide, it is important that Honduras protect the existing law and uphold the 80 per cent warning label requirement.
Large, pictorial health warning labels on tobacco packages are an essential component of a national strategy to reduce tobacco use. Tobacco companies depend on package design to build brand recognition and promote sales. Research shows that large, graphic warning labels increase knowledge about risks associated with smoking and can influence future decisions.
We ask that President Porfirio Lobo Sosa veto the amendment to ensure that the health of Hondurans is protected.
Statement of Laura Salgado, President, Accion para la Promocion de Ambientes Libres de Tabaco (Apalta)