WHO urges Philippine senate to block tobacco lobby-A A +A
Friday, July 27, 2012
MANILA — The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging Philippine senators to pass a bill that would jack up cigarette taxes to discourage smoking and raise revenues for universal health care. It said the lawmakers should resist lobbying by the tobacco industry against the bill.
Dr. Soe Nyunt-U said Friday that raising taxes on cigarettes is the "most powerful policy tool" to reduce tobacco use. He said the tobacco industry should not be consulted on public health issues.
Philippine Health Undersecretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said 17.3 million Filipinos smoke, about three out of 10 adults. That is one of Southeast Asia's highest prevalence rates.
Ubial said 87,000 Filipinos die yearly of tobacco-related diseases.
Chris Nelson, president of Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corporation Inc., which controls over 90 percent of the Philippine cigarette market, was unavailable for comment. (AP)