Let us not waste our gains in the fight against tobacco addiction

From the Department of Health

“World No Tobacco Day is an ideal event to raise awareness on the hazards of tobacco use because approximately 240 Filipinos die daily from smoking-related diseases.”

Stock image
Stock image

In observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the Department of Health (DOH) together with World Health Organization (WHO), call on all its member countries to work together to end the illicit trade of tobacco products, at the same time focus on the products’ graphic health warnings.  Research showed that picture-based warnings are effective in motivating smokers to quit and in reducing the appeal of tobacco use for people who are not yet addicted to it.

“World No Tobacco Day is an ideal event to raise awareness on the hazards of tobacco use because approximately 240 Filipinos die daily from smoking-related diseases,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.

According to the WHO, the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Unless we act, the epidemic will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030. More than 80% of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low-and middle-income countries.

World No Tobacco Day 2015 aims to raise awareness on the harm to people’s health caused by the illicit trade in tobacco products, especially the youth and low-income groups. It also aims to ensure that health care gains like increased tax and prices, pictorial health warnings and other measures are not undermined by the tobacco companies, and counter the tobacco industry’s involvement in the illicit trade of tobacco products.

Republic Act 10643 “An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warning on Tobacco Products” also known as the Graphic Health Warnings Law was approved last July 5, 2014. The DOH, as provided by law, has already issued and published the initial set of 12 templates last March 4, 2015 that will be used for two years.

The manufacturers are given one year to comply and the retailers another 8 months to ensure that all tobacco products have graphic health warnings.

The health chief explained that graphic health warning on tobacco products will help combat the illicit tobacco trade. She explained that illicit tobacco products hook young people into tobacco experimentation and use because they are more affordable. Also, the tobacco retailers sometimes involved children in their illegal selling activities.

“Let us not waste our gains in the fight against tobacco addiction. Together, let us prevent smoking-related diseases and save more lives,” Garin concluded.

doh.gov.ph