Where have all the 1.1-M smokers gone?

MANILA, Philippines (March 30)—The number of smokers in the country has tremendously increased during the last six years, from P17 million in 2009 to 15.9 million in 2015.

A survey conducted by the Department of Health showed the decrease of smokers in the country.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the result of the 2015 Global Adult Survey showed that prevalence of tobacco use among Filipinos 15 years old and above has dropped from 29.7 percent in 2007 to 23.8 percent in 2015.

“One million Filipinos have quit tobacco use, the biggest decline we have seen in the Philippine history and we can do more to stop the suffering caused by this epidemic,’ Ubial emphasized.

The decrease would mean over a million of Filipinos now have lowed ris of developing cancer, heart ailments, asthma and chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD)>

The number of victims of second-hand smoker at home has also dropped from 54 percent in 2009 to 34 percent in 2015 and , at the workplace from 32 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2015.

But the same survey showed, that exposure to second-hand smoking is still high at 86 percent in bars and in night clubs while at 33.6 in restaurants.

Ubial said the Sin Tax Law or Republic Act 1035 has made cigarette products inaccessible to the public, especially the poor and the youth.

The progress and achievement in tobacco control and policies and advocacy should be pushed further by maintaining the unitary tax excise structure for tobacco products.