Thursday, August 2, 2012

10 Filipinos die from smoking every hour

HealthJustice Philippines, an anti-tobacco group, is disputing the claims of tobacco companies that increasing taxes on tobacco would hurt tobacco farmers and lead to the loss of livelihood.

“The most important issue is none other than health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that tobacco consumption kills 10 Filipinos every hour, due to cancer, stroke, lung and heart diseases brought on by cigarette smoking,” the group said in a statement.

Furthermore, the group argues, “Even if a person does not smoke, the WHO warns that second-hand smoke causes hundreds of thousands of deaths to non-smokers due to the same smoking-related diseases.”

The group said price increases through tax reforms in tobacco products will discourage people from smoking.

It quoted a World Bank study as saying that a 10 percent increase in taxes on tobacco products would lead to a 4 to 8 percent decrease in consumption, thus leading to saving thousands of lives.

“A recent study by economists Filomeno Sta. Ana and Jo-Ann Latuja estimates that at least 870,000 smokers will quit and 310,000 lives can be saved when the needed excise tax reforms, which will significantly increase the price of cigarettes, are implemented,” HealthJustice said.

The tax reforms would also help raise additional revenues for public health, with the Department of Finance estimating that as much as P30 billion to P40 billion additional revenues can be generated annually, it said.

The group said the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) has estimated that more than 17 million adult Filipinos smoke while a DOH survey showed that Filipino children as young as five years old are already starting to smoke.

“If the current administration falls short of implementing measures to reduce tobacco consumption among its citizens, the health risks and economic losses will certainly become too much to bear in the near future,” the group said.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg and his health team are also after the purported dangers of secondhand smoke in restaurant and bars, banning all smoking in such establishments. Again there was an estimate of the number of deaths this action would prevent: 1,000. 

Were restaurant or bar patrons dying from exposure to the smoke from other patrons during dinner? Were employees dying from secondhand smoke? No.

Exposure to secondhand smoke does have negative health effects: It worsens respiratory ailments, can trigger asthma attacks and headaches, and causes severe ear infections, especially in children. But causing 1,000 deaths? Highly improbable. This is not to say that the majority of New Yorkers don't welcome the smoking ban -- not because secondhand smoke was killing people, but simply because cigarette smoke is disgusting, saturates your hair and clothes, and can ruin a dining experience.

There was, apparently, one healthy side effect resulting from the Bloomberg ban on smoking in almost any public place, though: New York City now has the lowest smoking rate in the country, down to about 16% from 22% just a few years ago.

On kicking the habit:

The minute you quit, your body starts working to repair the damage caused by tobacco. Within 48 hours, your senses of smell and taste begin to recover. The next month, you may notice that your cough and shortness of breath are improving. And once you reach the ten-year mark, your risk of death from lung cancer will almost equal the risk of a lifelong nonsmoker.

How to atone: Because ex-smokers will have an increased risk of heart disease for 15 years, I recommend spending 20 to 30 minutes in a sauna once or twice a week. (Most fitness clubs have one.) Several studies have documented the effectiveness of sauna therapy for reducing blood pressure, and breathing the hot air can improve lung function.

American Cigarette Smokers Switch to Cigars and Pipes to Save Money

Regrettably, across America, while cigarette consumption continues to decrease — dropping 33% from 2000 to 2011 — government data reveal a worrying new trend: a 123% increase in the consumption of other smokable tobacco products like cigars and pipes.

These little cigars may also be particularly appealing to teens, the authors of the report say, because they come in a variety of flavors, including vanilla and chocolate. Since cigars and pipe tobacco aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like cigarettes are, they can not only be flavored, but manufacturers can also label them “light” or “low tar” and market them with fewer restrictions.

The findings are reported in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tracks “combustible” tobacco consumption since 2000.

Read more here.

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  1. I'm glad I was able to quit smoking cold turkey decades ago. I used to smoke a pack and a half per day.

  2. wow...good, concise report..wishing my smoking child (35) would like to read this.