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To Quit Or Not To Quit Part II

May 29, 2010

The outgoing Arroyo regime has upped the ante in the on-going moves to prod President-to-be Noynoy Aquino to quit smoking.

The Secretary of Health, cardiologist Esperanza Cabral, is now trumpeting statistics showing that there are 17-million Filipino smokers, along with survey data which, according to her, point to 250 Filipinos dying from illnesses directly traceable to smoking.

Cabral, who came under severe public criticism as social welfare chief during last years floods, is heralding “the need for the Philippines to stand by its commitments under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WGO-FCTC) which mandates the inclusion on cigarette packaging of graphic portrayals of smoking-related killer illnesses.

These are some of the images recommended by the WHO is be included in the packaging of tobacco products:

On-line information shows the following:

The WHO-FCTC) is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization. It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The WHO FCTC represents a paradigm shift in developing a regulatory strategy to address addictive substances; in contrast to previous drug control treaties, the WHO FCTC asserts the importance of demand reduction strategies as well as supply issues.

The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The spread of the tobacco epidemic is facilitated through a variety of complex factors with cross-border effects, including trade liberalization and direct foreign investment. Other factors such as global marketing, transnational tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and the international movement of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes have also contributed to the explosive increase in tobacco use.

The core demand reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are contained in articles 6-14:

• Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, and

• Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, namely:

  • Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke;
  • Regulation of the contents of tobacco products;
  • Regulation of tobacco product disclosures;
  • Packaging and labeling of tobacco products;
  • Education, communication, training and public awareness;
  • Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and,
  • Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation.

The core supply reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are contained in articles 15-17:

  • Illicit trade in tobacco products;
  • Sales to and by minors; and,
  • Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.

The core supply reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are contained in articles 15-17:

  • Illicit trade in tobacco products;
  • Sales to and by minors; and,
  • Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.

The WHO FCTC opened for signature on 16 June to 22 June 2003 in Geneva, and thereafter at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Depositary of the treaty, from 30 June 2003 to 29 June 2004. The treaty, which is now closed for signature, has 168 Signatories, including the European Community, which makes it one of the most widely embraced treaties in UN history. Member States that have signed the Convention indicate that they will strive in good faith to ratify, accept, or approve it, and show political commitment not to undermine the objectives set out in it. Countries wishing to become a Party, but that did not sign the Convention by 29 June 2004, may do so by means of accession, which is a one-step process equivalent to ratification.

The Convention entered into force on 27 February 2005 – 90 days after it had been acceded to, ratified, accepted, or approved by 40 States.

The Philippines signed the WHO-FCTC on 23 September 2003 and President Arroyo issued an executive order on 6 June 2005 signifying the country’s ratification of the accord.

http://www.who.int/fctc/en/

http://www.who.int/fctc/signatories_parties/en/index.html

Having called attention to this situation, the outgoing health secretary has been careful to adopt  a tone directed at what she termed “the strong tobacco industry lobby which has resisted our efforts to safeguard public health to protect their profits.”

She has even taken a dig at “corporate social responsibility projects of the cigarette firms intended to soften public opposition to tobacco products.”

To be fair, Dr. Cabral knows whereof she speaks.

But this writer cannot banish the thought that there is political one-upmanship directed at the next administration whose  duty it will be to tackle the WHO-FCTC.

Maybe it’s just me.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. mattlaurel710 permalink
    May 30, 2010 12:05 am

    Hi Ding!!! Thank you for tagging me in this interesting article. You know that i am a fan and that i love reading your posts and blogs =)

    With regard to smoking, I agree on the bad effects it can give you and especially those around you who are non smokers. It’s a tough habit to quit. The effects of smoking on human health are serious, deadly for the smokers and equally devastating for the loved ones of those who smoke. We all know that the ingredient of a cigarette is composed of deadly chemicals, and there are thousands of that in one stick of a cigarette. Nicotine that can have ill effects on our brain, carbon monoxide which can prevent or block cells from carrying a full load of oxygen, carcinogens that of course can cause cancer. I once saw an x-ray of smoker’s lungs and it frightened the hell out of me =) it looked like a decaying and rotting trunk of a tree! On the vanity side of things, it stains our teeth and gives us bad breath =)

    But i can tell you that it is a struggle to quit smoking. It is one of the hardest habits to break. Maybe because it is legal and still a lot of people smoke. We dont really see the ill effects until it is too late. With regard to Noynoy smoking, i can only understand that because of the Herculean task he is facing, his smoking will probably increase. And it is understandable because to most smokers, this is how they deal with stress. We cannot really judge those who smoke because we all try to deal with our challenges on our own ways or coping mechanisms. Personally, i think if Noynoy would one day choose to stop smoking, he will and he can do it. It is just a matter of him wanting to stop. He does have the toughest and most stressful job on earth =) Just like President Obama who still smokes and who, as far as i am concerned, should only answer to his wife Michelle because she is the only person he did promise he will quit smoking; he never really promised the American people or the media that will quit. So therefore, he really only needed to answer to Michelle and his kids. If Noynoy chooses to still smoke, I’d say the only person he needs to answer to is his own self. Sooner or later, he will have to deal with his own struggles. Like all of us do =) But as a President of the Philippines, I will encourage him to be tough on the sales of tobacco just to make sure that a strong message is being put across to everyone especially young people who are not aware of the ill effects of smoking. I think everyone deserves the chance to be informed about the dangers of smoking. Everyone should be given a choice to quit or not to quit. Another effective way to encourage quitters will be to increase the costs of a cigarette pack. This might not sit very well with the tobacco giants back home but, you know what, screw these establishments that made so much money or are still making a lot of money out of endangering the health of the innocent consumers. That little message written on the side or back of a cigarette pack is easy to ignore. But if you make these packets expensive, that will surely burn a hole of Juan de la Cruz’ already burnt pockets. I think that if he does this, you will see a huge drop on the percentage of smokers. =) But let me be clear, I do not and will never judge those who smoke, i understand their inner struggles so well. What we can do to help them is to let them decide for their own, on their own with no pressures.

    Once again, thank you for this interesting article. I think what sets you apart from most writers is the fact that you write from the heart of the matter. =) Cheers!

    • May 30, 2010 12:29 am

      My dear Matt, as we bloggers say, You are spot on! Any leader must not lose sight of how he is looked upon as his people’s role model. Mr. Obama smokes but now he has learned not to do it in public at least as he tries to kick the habit. Aquino can begin by doing exactly that. Methinks he will be able to quit puffing.

    • May 30, 2010 12:29 am

      My dear Matt, as we bloggers say, You are spot on! Any leader must not lose sight of how he is looked upon as his people’s role model. Mr. Obama smokes but now he has learned not to do it in public at least as he tries to kick the habit. Aquino can begin by doing exactly that. Methinks he will be able to quit puffing.

  2. mattlaurel710 permalink
    May 30, 2010 10:34 am

    spot on, Ding =) you are right about Pres. Obama regarding setting a good example, definitely a step that Noynoy can follow and should follow. Thank again =)

  3. May 31, 2010 7:34 am

    Today’s World No Tobacco Day!

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