Smoking Philippine leader OKs cigarette warnings

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president, a known smoker, has signed a law that requires tobacco companies to put scary health warnings on cigarette packs in a country where tens of thousands of people die every year from tobacco-linked diseases.

President Benigno Aquino III's spokesman, Herminio Coloma Jr., said Sunday that the Philippine leader signed the law "to effectively instill health consciousness through graphic health warnings on tobacco products."

The presidential palace didn't immediately publicize the law, which was signed Friday, but legislation approved by lawmakers last month required 50 percent of the bottom of cigarette packs, front and back, to be covered by pictures and illustrations of warnings like damaged lungs.

Aquino has said he once discussed his smoking with President Barack Obama, who told him that he has kicked the habit.

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