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Will this Law Encourage Filipino Smokers to Stop Smoking?
« on: July 05, 2007, 12:45:11 PM »
source: Oh My News

Teenaged and adult smokers in the Philippines have started to long for the billboard that depicts a lonesome cowboy on his horse pacing slowly on a snow-covered mountain toward a hunting lodge.

Although it doesn't snow in the country, that cigarette billboard represented something. A dream that is now history as the government starts to implement last RA 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which went into effect on July 1.

The law states that no tobacco posters or other materials may be posted except inside a retail store where the product is sold.

Violators face a fine of from about $2,000 up to $8,000, risk cancellation of their business permits and licenses and, worse, imprisonment.

Experts said the ban -- there are similar ones in effect in other parts of the world like the United Kingdom -- is to help reduce the risk of people dying at a young age due to lung cancer and other ailments.

Researchers said, "Nicotine reaches the brain as quickly as 10 seconds after inhalation, triggering feelings of pleasure, increasing heart rate and raising blood pressure."

Aside from nicotine, the smoker breathes in 69 deadly chemicals that include arsenic, formaldehyde and polonium. Nicotine itself doesn't cause cancer but it keeps the smoker hooked on the habit.

Reports said that tobacco is so addictive that it should be classified as an illegal class B drug, on a level with amphetamines and barbiturates.

A recent study in the country on tobacco products showed that increasing the prices of tobacco products and taxes on them could also lower the use of cigarettes.

The study showed that the price elasticity in the Philippines is .15 to .20, which is significant but still below other parts of Asia like China, where a similar study was conducted.

In China, price elasticity is minus .54 to minus .64; in Indonesia, minus .35.

The percentage of tax to price is 32 percent compared to the recommendation of the World Health Organization which says it should be at least 60 percent.

The study also showed that given a 20- to 100-percent tax increase, the drop in the poor's cigarette consumption ranges from 8 percent to over 50 percent. A 100-percent hike in tax per pack of cigarettes can lower consumption of cigarettes per poor person by 35 packs.

Researchers said increasing prices and taxes alone couldn't discourage habitual smokers. So they suggested several interventions to curb on smoking: a ban on cigarette advertising and promotion, consumer information, stricter smoking bans in public places and better access to smoking cessation therapies.

Will this law encourage others to stop smoking?

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