Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Who will protect us from cigarette smoke?

For almost a decade now, there’s supposed to be a smoking ban in effect in all public spaces, yet 240 Filipinos still die every day from smoking-related diseases. As the adult smokers die, cigarette companies entice teenagers to start smoking.

The youth can be scared off by pictures showing the ill effects of smoking, but our lawmakers wouldn’t pass a law to require those kinds of warnings on cigarette packs. Cigarettes can also be made expensive through increased taxes, so teenagers won’t be able to afford them, but Congress sat on sin tax proposals. Manufacturers are prohibited from advertising, but they skirt the ban through other, more personal promo activities.

So who will save us from what the World Health Organization calls an “epidemic”? Do presidential aspirants have clear policy directions or firm commitments when it comes to controlling tobacco use?

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