HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, citing the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2015, pointed out that between 2009 to 2015, smoking rate among women in the Philippines had decreased.
“While recognizing that we still have a long way to go in achieving our vision of having a smoke-free Philippines, this Women’s Month, we would like to applaud the women who were able to conquer their dependence on tobacco. This is a momentous feat especially in view of the fact that the tobacco industry has always been targeting women by designing tobacco products in ways that will get them hooked,” said Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza, President of HealthJustice.
Fernandez Mendoza stated that “based on the GATS 2015, tobacco use among female adults declined from 10.1% in 2009 to 5.8% in 2015, representing a relative decline of 42.8%.”
The GATS-Philippines survey was conducted by the Department of Health (DoH) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The results of the countrywide survey are made part of a global survey finalized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Various tobacco control laws and measures were passed and implemented between 2009 to 2015.
Republic Act (RA) 10351 or The Sin Tax Reform Law, which increased tobacco tax, was signed into law by former President Benigno Aquino III on December 19, 2012.
RA 10643 or the Graphic Health Warnings Law, which mandates the printing of graphic health warnings on all forms of tobacco packaging and labelling, was passed on July 15, 2014.
The most recent increase in tobacco tax was brought about by the passage of the 2017 Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which slapped an additional P2.50 tax on every cigarette pack.
“We are now reaping the benefits of having passed and effectively implemented tobacco control laws and measures. We call on our legislators and policymakers to keep crafting strategies to improve the health of the people, such as further tobacco tax increases, and our law enforcers to continue doing a good job in carrying out the same,” Fernandez Mendoza added.
In the Philippines, 240 people die every day due to smoking-related diseases.
HealthJustice Philippines is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control. It is a Programme Partner of the NCD Alliance, an international network of experts and organizations working to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases worldwide.