Smokers getting younger

THIS mountain haven is one in fighting the ills of tobacco addiction.

In celebration of “World No Tobacco Day” (WNTD) the City Health Office on Friday afternoon, May 31, gathered stakeholders to advocate a smoke-free Baguio.

Dr. Nelson Hora of the City Health Office said there is a significant decrease in the smoking population in the city with only 17 percent as surveyed this year as compared to 30 percent in 2014.

The city commemoration of WNTD is themed “Don’t let tobacco take your breath away,” which discussed health impacts, global impacts, tobacco survey results and the launching of new programs to help smokers curb the nicotine habit.

However, Hora said smokers are getting younger forcing programs to focus on adolescents.

“Most of the current smokers say they started the habit when they were young, so we are focusing our programs on the elementary and high school levels,” Hora added.

Studies show tobacco companies target a younger audience specifically those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Hora said information campaign of the health department is swaying the youth never to start the habit of smoking and is drum-beating a “Not to smoke at home” scenario to prevent youth from being exposed to tobacco using adults.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) is a global standard for systemically monitoring adult tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.

GATS is a nationally representative survey, using consistent standard protocol across countries and localities including Baguio City. GATS enhances the of localities capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control programs.

In Baguio City, GATS was conducted in February 2019 as a household survey of persons 15 years of age and older by the Health Services Office and the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

The survey showed there are 30 percent of men and 7.3 percent of women who smoke tobacco with a 17.6 percent of smokers. The GAT survey also revealed there are 3.2 percent of e-cigarette smokers in the city.

Ironically, 99.1 percent believe smoking can cause serious illness with a 45.6 percent attempting to quit in the past year and 77.9 percent thinking of quitting the habit compared to the 49 percent who have been advised by health care providers to quit smoking all together.

In the national level, there 8 out of to 10 Filipinos who die every hour because of tobacco related diseases counting 240 deaths a day and 87,000 deaths annually.

Every 31st of May, the World Health Organization and global partners celebrate WNTD. The annual campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.


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