Philippines Pass New Tobacco Control Regulations and Laws [01/05-1]
Excerpts from: The smoking ban: A health or economic issue?
By Roderick T. dela Cruz The
Manila Times [01/05/04]
Legislators passed a landmark law last year apparently to shield the non-smoking
public from the ills of cigarettes, shackling the growth of the over P100-billion
local tobacco industry. The action drew howls not only from tobacco farmers
but also from some business establishment operators who claimed that the law
would tow the smokers economy underground.
Buoyed by a national cigarette consumption of 82 billion sticks in 2003, the
smokers economy contributed close to P30 billion in revenues to the national
coffers. Industry analysts said that with the passage of Republic Act No. 9211,
otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, this segment of the economy
would thrive underground, minus the taxes, along with the likes of smuggling
and software piracy.
Even before RA 9211 was enacted in June last year, several cities like Makati
had passed ordinances that banned smoking in public areas and conveyances. Government
agencies tasked to implement RA 9211 at the national level are now looking at
Makatis experience on how to put teeth to the law that also covers the tourism,
property, media and advertising sectors.
Health advocates, however, explained that more than tourists, smokers are persons
who share their intimate moments with their family, office mates and friends.
Smokers are killing the persons near them, Dr. Jessica Q. de Leon,
a member of the Tobacco Control Management Team of the Department of Health
Studies showed that persons married to smokers tend to have higher risks
of contacting diseases, de Leon added.
According to WHO, 75 percent of male and 18 percent of female adults in the Philippines
were smokers as of 1999. Around 4 percent of the Filipino youth (below 18 years
old) were regular smokers while another 1 percent was experimenting.
A global youth tobacco survey reported that as many as 21.6 percent of Filipino
students were smoking cigarettes. The percentage was 32.6 percent among male
students and 12.9 percent among female students.
Smokers reportedly spend 20 percent of their household income on tobacco products.
Nearly 60 percent of all households in the country have a smoking member.
The DOH claimed that some 20,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related illnesses
each year. This translates to two Filipinos succumbing to tobacco-induced fatality
The smoking ban in public areas is well anchored on one key term: second-hand
smoke (SHS) or the smoke exhaled by a smoker and later inhaled by other people.
According to the DOH, nonsmokers exposed to SHS, otherwise known as passive
smokers, are more vulnerable to diseases because the particles in the exhaled
smoke are smaller and could reach deeper into the lungs of the passive smokers.
On June 23, 2003, President Arroyo signed R.A. 9211 into law, something that health
advocates quickly hailed as a landmark in the history of health protection. The
law seeks to regulate the packaging, use, sale or distribution and advertisements
of tobacco products.
Under the law, the government is supposed to enforce a smoking ban in schools,
recreational areas frequented by children, elevators and stairways, hospitals,
clinics, laboratories and food preparation areas.
It particularly prohibits the sale or distribution of tobacco products within
100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground or
other facility frequented by minors.
Beginning January 1 this year, the following health warnings are required to be
printed on every package of tobacco products: Government Warning: Cigarettes
are Addictive; Government Warning: Tobacco Can harm your Children;
or Government Warning: Smoking Kills.
Apart from these warnings, all packages of tobacco products shall contain,
on one side panel of the package the following statement in a clear, legible
and conspicuous manner; No Sale To Minors or Not For Sale
Until 2007, advertisements of tobacco products are required to convey the message:
Government Warning: Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health.
Celebrities are also barred from endorsing tobacco products.
The law will prohibit tobacco advertising on television, cable television and
radio beginning January 1, 2007 and all cinema and outdoor advertising on July
1 of the same year. Beginning July 1, 2008, all forms of tobacco advertising
in mass media shall be prohibited except tobacco advertisements placed inside
the premises of point-of-sale establishments.
This information is presented as a public service by:
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2013 H Street NW / Washington, DC 20006 / (202) 659-4310
A national nonprofit, scientific and educational organization founded in 1967.
All donations are fully tax deductible.
Material on this page may be freely reproduced, distributed, and circulated
with attribution given to Action on Smoking and Health.
Dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Warren Wells