ASH Philippines calls to adopt smoke-free undas
31 Oct 2019
This All Soul’s Day, as we remember our departed loved ones, let us also remember those who have succumbed to tobacco-related diseases caused by smoking. Despite the progress made on the tobacco control efforts in the recent years, many people still continue to die and become sick needlessly. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) said that 15.9 million (22.7%) adults currently smoke tobacco, and 13.1 million (18.7%) adults smoke it daily.
According to the study conducted by Global Burden of Disease in 2016, approximately 150,000 Filipinos are dying every year because of tobacco-related diseases which accounts for most of the deaths from cardiac and respiratory diseases in the Philippines.
“Smoking is the only legal product that will kill you if you use it the way it is intended to. Smoking and tobacco use are significant risk factors for heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease and many types of cancers,” said Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Philippines executive director Dr. Ma. Encarnita B. Limpin.
ASH Philippines also emphasized that it is not only smokers who are affected, but non-smokers are at risk as well. “Active smokers are not the only ones affected, persons exposed to second-hand smoke, especially children, will also suffer severe consequences which is why we must put a premium on promoting a smoke-free environment,” said Limpin.
ASH Philippines is calling on for stricter implementation of tobacco control measures in the country that will address the many dangers of smoking, including its effect on non-smokers. The call comes from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), of which the Philippines is a signatory, which calls for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke.
Yearly, approximately 3,000 Filipinos die of lung cancer because of second-hand smoke according to the Philippine Cancer Society. Lung cancer is the top cause of cancer-related mortality in the Philippines and worldwide.
For this year’s Undas, ASH Philippines is reminding the public not to smoke in the cemeteries and urges officials to strengthen the enforcement on the ban on smoking in public places to minimize the harm of second-hand smoking.