The online news portal of TV5
MANILA – The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) has urged authorities to implement the no smoking law as millions of Filipinos flock to cemeteries and transport terminals in observance of All Saints’ Day.
NVAP President Emer Rojas said while Republic Act 9211 prohibits smoking in public areas it is loosely implemented because of lack of law enforcement and awareness.
“As we remember our departed loved ones let us also show respect to those who are still with us by considering their wellbeing. We don’t want to expose them to cigarette smoke which we all know kills,” Rojas, a cancer survivor and member of the CANCER coalition. CANCER stands for Cancer Alleviation Network on Care Education and Rehabilitation.
Around 24 million Filipinos are exposed to tobacco smoke everyday. An estimated 67% inhale second-hand smoke in the workplace while 76% are exposed in areas that do not implement an anti-tobacco policy.
Data from the Philippine Cancer Society reveals that around 3,000 Filipinos die of lung cancer each year due to second-hand smoke.
“There is no safe level when it comes to inhaling tobacco smoke. Whether you consume cigarette yourself or you are exposed to its smoke, it is equally dangerous and fatal. We must protect public health from the dangers of tobacco by enforcing the law on non-smoking in areas where there are huge crowds of people including children,” he said.
According to the Philippines 2011 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, more than two in five 13-15 year old children are exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes.
The World Health Organization’s Tobacco Atlas reveals that second-hand smoke increases the risks of contracting lung cancer by 30 percent and coronary heart disease by 25 percent.
“Despite increased information dissemination including involvement of social media, the fact remains that many Filipinos are still not fully aware of the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke,” said Rojas.
The NVAP head and Global Cancer ambassador noted that the implementation of the graphic health warnings law would surely help address this issue as pictures emit powerful messages that can be understood by anyone including children.
Signed last year by President Benigno Aquino III, the graphic health warnings law mandates the placement of actual pictures of the dangers of smoking on cigarette packs that must be implemented starting November 5 this year or one year after the first publication of the GHW templates.