By InterAksyon.com | July 15, 2015 6:41 AM
MANILA – A year after the government passed the Graphic Health Warnings Law, health advocates are mulling on proposing that ingredients used in tobacco products be regulated to control their cancer-causing effects and reduce their appeal to smokers.
In a news release, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) [resident Emer Rojas said tobacco control should not only focus on the outside appearance of products but must also equally consider how cigarettes are made that make them addictive and dangerous to people’s health.
“Tobacco contains the most number of carcinogens and harmful chemicals contained in any legal products you can imagine. It is unfortunate that these products find their way into your homes and your children that you are practically inhaling your way to death,” said Rojas, a laryngeal cancer survivor and a former smoker.
According to the World Health Organization, cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals of which 70 are carcinogenic or cancer-causing ingredients.
Chemicals in tobacco include nicotine, used as an insecticide and also the ingredient that makes the product addictive; tar, a material used for paving roads; formaldehyde, an embalming fluid; arsenic, used in rat poison; methanol, a main component in rocket fuel; naphthalene, used in mothballs; carbon monoxide which is released in car exhausted fumes; benzene, found in rubber cement; butane, used in lighter fluid; toluene, used to manufacture paint; and lead, used in batteries, among thousands of other harmful elements.
Rojas said regulating the substances used in making cigarettes would reduce the risks of cancer-causing agents and other toxins inhaled by both smokers and second hand smokers.
“We must also reduce tobacco’s addictiveness and palatability including the various flavors manufacturers add to cigarettes to make the product appealing to consumers,” he said.
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world causing 22% of cancer deaths.
While lung cancer is the most common type of cancer caused by smoking, it also raises the risks for other types of cancer such as those of the larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon, and anus.
Cancer is a major cause of death in the Philippines. The three other causes are heart attack, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – all strongly linked to tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.
“Let us help in reducing cancer deaths, especially those caused by smoking,” Rojas said.
On 15 July 2014 President Benigno Aquino III signed the graphic health warnings law mandating tobacco companies to place picture-based warnings covering 50% of all labels. This was two years after Congress passed the sin tax law that increased the levies imposed on alcohol and tobacco products.