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Congress Urged to Pass Law Banning Kids from Smoking

June 9, 2000 · 

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Published in “The Philippine Daily Inquirer” (June 09, 2000)

ROXAS CITY-The Capiz – provincial board passed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to enact measures that would prohibit cigarette use among children as well as regulate the sale and promotion of tobacco products in the country.

“Statistics showed that 40 percent of Filipino boys and 19 percent of girls, ages,10 to 14 are daily smokers. Some 38 percent of both sexes become regular smokers when they reach 15 to 19 years old,” said board member Antonio Areiga, author of the resolution.

Yet, he added, smoking has been found to be hazardous to one’s health as it has been associated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

According to Areiga, the Philippines lags behind in Asia when it comes to policies curbing the use of tobacco.

He said in his resolution that Thailand has more comprehensive tobacco control policies since 1970 while Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam banned tobacco advertisements in print and broadcast media since 1997.

In the Philippines, Areiga noted that the only law dealing with smoking is the National Consumer Act, which requires the printing of warning libels on cigarette packs.

But, he added, there is no law regulating tobacco use, promotion and marketing in the Philippines.

The Department of Health estimates that at least 20,000 Filipinos die every year due to Smoking. Tobacco use also drains nearly 20 percent of the income of smokers families, aside from exposing the household to cancer-causing substances.

Areiga said the latest government Survey shows that one in every three adult Filipinos smokes, exposing 60 percent of the country’s households to secondhand smoke.

The DOH has estimated that with an average of 5.1 members per household, there would be approximately 35 million passive smokers in the country,

Areiga said he himself had, suffered from the ill effects of smoking when he almost died of heart attack five years ago. He said the hoped that a similar incident would not happen anyone else.

GERRY T. PAGRARION
PDI Visayas Bureau

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