Source: Department of Health
Medical groups challenged the new Administration of President-elect Noynoy Aquino to decisively act and prevent more youth from getting hooked to smoking addiction amid increasing efforts of the tobacco industry to storm the market with cigarette promotional activities in stores, concert & sports events and other entertainment circles.
In a statement issued to the media, the medical doctors belonging to the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) expressed their alarm over the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) released recently by the World Health Organization and the Department of Health.
“Our young generation will continue to be the hapless victims of the tobacco industry’s conscious efforts to lure them to smoking. They continue to bombard the stores with promotional materials, cigarette brand signages that are most accessible to our young’s near schools, malls and other major point-of-sale establishments,” said Dr. Eugene Ramos, PCP President.
Ramos cited the GATS results that show seven out of ten Filipinos aged 15 years old and above noticed cigarette advertisements. These were seen mostly in stores, posters, leaflets and calendars. About three in every ten Filipinos surveyed said they noticed pro-cigarette promotions in the form of brand names and cigarette logos in clothes.
“We call on our newly-elected President to support the efforts of the Department of Health to protect our children from the onslaught of tobacco promotions and advertisements. The Health Department needs to provide our children with health information that will effectively compete with the sophisticated marketing strategies of the tobacco industry,” said Dr. Abundio Balgos, PCCP President.
Balgos said the children need to be informed of the real consequences of smoking on their physical well-being and these are not effectively addressed in the existing health warning placed in cigarette packs.
The groups urged the DOH to provide more effective health information in cigarette packs because these are most accessible to tobacco users.
“In the marketing parlance, the youths are called ‘replacement smokers’ and they are the ones now being targeted by these tobacco companies. The battle against the tobacco industry for the hearts and minds of our children is tough and the government has no choice but to intervene on behalf of the health of the future generation,” said Balgos.