Health groups: Sin Tax Law curbing smoking habit

CONTRARY to the belief of lawmakers, the Sin Tax Law or Republic Act 10351 has been effective in its more than a year of implementation.

According to 17 medical associations and health groups, the higher prices of cigarettes have effectively resulted to a lower number of smoking Filipinos.

"With higher cigarette prices, long-addicted Filipino tobacco users are lessening their consumption, while would-be smokers, especially from the young and the poor, are increasingly discouraged from taking up smoking in the first place," said the groups in a joint statement.

Citing the 2013 Youth Adult and Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Population Institute and Demographic Research & Development Foundation, the groups noted how smoking prevalence among young Filipinos aged 15 to 24 years old has dropped from 21.9 percent in 2002 to 19.7 percent in 2013.

"In the light of these indicators, we confidently uphold our assessment that the sin tax law is proving itself to be an effective smoking reduction measure," said the groups.

Earlier, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said he wants to summon cigarette manufacturers, as well as officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) and have them explain why the sin tax law has failed to slow down the smoking habit of Filipinos.

Among the signatories of the statement are health groups Action for Economic Reforms (AER), FCTC Alliance of the Philippines (FCAP), New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), University of the Philippines, Manila (UP Manila), WomanHealth Philippines (WomanHealth), and the Youth for Sin Tax Coalition (YFST).

Medical professional organizations Philippine Ambulatory Pediatrics Association (PAPA), Philippine Cancer Society (PCS), Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), Philippine College of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM), Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Heart Association (PHA), Philippine Neurological Association (PNA), Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), Philippine Rheumatology Association (PRA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (PSEM), and the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN). (Sunnex)

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