Anti-Smoking Advocates Go to Cemetery for Support

Article excerpt

A total of 75,840 Filipinos have died from tobacco-related diseases since the filing of the graphic health warnings bill on cigarette packs on Dec. 20, 2007 which remains pending in Congress to this day, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-Alliance of the Philippines (FCAP) said yesterday.

And the number of deaths continues to rise at 240 a day, the FCAP said.

FCAP members and volunteers from various non-government organizations yesterday went to the North Cemetery in Manila and gathered signatures in support of the pending measure aimed at reducing tobacco consumption through pictures.

"Every day, more than 200 Filipinos die because of smoking, and most of them are the poor who fell victim to cigarette addiction," said urban poor leader Myrna deLeon of the Alay Kapwa.

Aside from the FCAP, other tobacco control advocates from Sama-samang Komunidad ng Paco-Pandacan (SKPP), Alay Kapwa, Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Pag-unlad (KAPPAG) and members of the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay 836 in Pandacan, also urged the Arroyo administration to prioritize tobacco control measures, including the passage of the Graphic Health Warning Bill.

Several countries have already implemented the graphic health warnings scheme on cigarette packs and reported a reduction of cigarette consumption, especially among the youth.

Some of the countries that have implemented this strategy are Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The Department of Health (DoH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said 240 Filipinos die every day of smoking-related illnesses or about 87,600 deaths every year. Meanwhile, a WHO study found a link between poverty and tobacco use.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary (DSWD) Esperanza I. Cabral told a forum on tobacco control and sustainable development in Pasay City that tobacco actually makes the poor poorer because the poor families' meager finances are spent largely on tobacco. …