Friday, October 1, 2010

Cigarette smoking is Number One health hazard (PhilStar)

There are many people who die from smoking cigarettes. Government also spends a lot in healthcare to subsidize persons who have robacco-related illness. I believe that there should be a sustained advocacy against cigarettes and count me in as one of the advocates.


Cigarette smoking is Number One health hazard -
Roses And Thorns by Alejandro R. Roces
(The Philippine Star) Updated June 03, 2000 12:00 AM
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Dr. Uton Rafei, director of the Southeast Asia office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning that Western Cigarette Companies are engaged in a sales drive that in effect will be a health timebomb in developing countries. "Southeast Asia," he said, "has the unhappy distinction of having the second highest growth rate of smokers of any WHO Region it is the target of big tobacco companies."

According to Rep. Heherson Alvarez, there are statistics to show that at least two Filipinos die every hour because of heart diseases, lung and throat cancer caused by smoking. To make matters worse, some get sick and die not because they are smokers but because they inhaled the cigarette smoke of smokers. In short, it is the Number One health hazard and at the same time, the most preventable cause of death. What we need is action from our legislators and the Health Department. The last major anti-smoking campaign was the launching of the "Yosi Nakakadiri" slogan during Juan Flavier's term -- as Health Secretary. It was a total failure. First, because the campaign was addressed to smokers and smokers enjoy smoking. They do not think cigarette smoke is nauseating A campaign must be based on truth. What should be addressed is the health hazards of smoking. There are world and local statistics to prove that smoking is an effective way of shortening any one's life span.

WHO Director Rafei cited Thailand's Anti-Smoking Regulations as an example to other South-East Asian nations. Thailand has strict laws prohibiting sales to minors, smoking in public places and recently banned, not only cigarette and in television, but even the showing of smoking scenes.

WHO has revealed that in Southeast Asia, cigarettes contain nicotine levels of up to 3.2, milligrams per cigarette or double the maximum amount permitted in most developed countries. WHO also revealed that western cigarette manufacturers deliberately place their billboards and other advertising materials near schools and that they promote concerts designed to entice children to smoke.

We are glad to say that now there is a bill pending in Congress, House Bill 1198 called the "Comprehensive Tobacco Regulation Act of 1998." If approved every cigarette pack will have to put a warning sign on the health hazards of smoking that will occupy 30 percent of the pack. Radio and television smoking ads will have to devote 20 percent of its time to the same health warning. The millennium is the era of information.