More young Filipinos smoking, says report



It is not just “noynoying” that young Filipinos are adopting from President Benigno Aquino III’s known habit.

More and more of the country’s youth are lighting up, with 2 out of every 5 Filipino teenagers taking up smoking in 2011, according to the National Youth Commission (NYC).

Using data from a Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2003 and 2007, the NYC has raised the alarm about the increasing trend among the country’s youth to take up smoking and urged the government to impose stricter controls and higher taxes on tobacco and liquor.

“Certainly, based on these [the survey’s] estimates, the health of teenage Filipinos are now direly at risk from tobacco exposure and future smoking-related diseases. The immediate execution of more stringent tobacco control policies—such as the Aquino administration’s proposed sin tax reforms—is sorely needed,” the NYC said.

The Global Youth survey said it expected the uptake in tobacco use to rise even higher in 2011 because of the decrease in the price of cigarettes and the high demand for tobacco products. Some 5.3 million cigarette packs were sold in 2011, the highest volume of cigarette packs sold in a year since 1993, it said.

The survey said around 50.8 percent, or half of all Filipinos aged 13 to 15, would have tried a tobacco product by 2011.

By 2011, smoking among teeners aged 13 to 15 may have increased to as much as 38.2 percent (equivalent to 2.2 million people), or 2 out of every 5 young Filipinos, it said.

The survey said young people who are not smoking would be exposed to second-hand smoke. It noted that 3 out of 5 teenage Filipinos would live in homes where a family member is a regular smoker, while 78.1 percent, or 4 out of 5, would live in communities with numerous smokers.

NYC chair Leon Flores called for raising the price of cigarettes to discourage young people from taking up the habit.

“If the cost of cigarettes is high, fewer people will buy it. This is just one of the steps we see to curb this vice among the youth,” Flores said.

He cited a recent survey conducted by the University of the Philippines Communication Research Society with Health Justice Philippines that found 60 percent of the sample population would quit smoking if cigarettes were to be priced at P5 per stick.

Battle over sin taxes

The NYC is sounding the alarm over the dangers of smoking as the battle for higher excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol rages between and among health experts, government, and cigarette makers and breweries.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Rey Gan

    This just goes to show that those scare tactics and ordinances against smoking implemented a year ago didn’t work at all.  Why so concern with smokers when they themselves- and these young people’s parents- don’t care less? Hypocrites….

  • mikvital

    P-Noy is a role model, light it up men.. May ginagawa man o walang ginagawa, kailangan sigarilyo ang pampalipas oras.

    • Philippines

      Mango-mango sa imo ba. Mango gid!

  • Jon70

    Blame the parents and not the president. Get real Kristine!

  • San Miguel

    Yan ang DAANG MATUWID….That’s the example our beloved PNOY wants to impart to our kids… Be a smoker..

  • unleadedzeppelin

    Promote smoking. We are overpopulated and we need more taxes. Smoking is a good solution.

  • Diablo_III

    BUGOKA sa mga tao diri pati Presidente gi blame sa sigarilyo. Amawa oie, haskang bugoka jud kaayo. grabe ka BUGOK…

    • Philippines

      tama jud. Bugok sa tanan nga mga BUGOk. 

  • Diablo_III

    But smoking is good esp if the stick costs P20 each. I will accept that, and if beers cost P100 per bottle. This way people will become more intelligent. 

  • My mom

    But the DOH assured the people that cigarette advertising was key to juvenile smoking. Now that cigarette advertising is banned by law, what has DOH got to show? And what more lies does DOH spew with its support for high sin taxes? Global experience shows it won’t affect smoking rates but will trigger rampant smuggling of tobacco products. When will we ever learn?

  • KenKhoy

    mr “boss ko kayo” ikaw na naman ang nakikita?  ——– a ganon ba – d wala tayong magawa.

  • Patas

    Ms. Kristine, when did the president encourage people to smoke? Could you cite an example for us?
    You are insinuating as if the president is promoting young people to smoke and your article is tainted with bias and malice.

    Answer this:
    How much is a gram of  s h a b u? how come that even if it is a bit expensive, many of our poor kababayans are users?

  • Ulipur

    In the rural areas smoking among boys starts between the ages of 9 and 11.  

  • Ryan

    Kenkhoy at San Miguel.. perpekto kayung tao?? hahaha .. dont blame our President.. kung gagabayan nyu ang mga anak nyu mkakaiwas cla dyan… lahat tyung mga matatanda may isip tyu pra gumwa ng tamng desisyon .. gmitin nyu isip nyu in a good way wag mapanira sa kapwa..

  • Donardo Cuago

    This is so sad…

  • Mikka

    Agreed. Increase the prices. 

    Let’s go research!

  • Anne Torre

    Translation of the lack of discipline in the country. High school and elementary kids are left puffing by the police because of the absence of law. In other countries, high school and elelmentary age are apprehended by the police and are prevented to go to malls or department stores during class days. They are also warned if they don’t wear properly their uniforms like opening the buttons of their polo shirts and stuff like that.

    Maybe the kids nowadays idolized their leader who is a chain smoker.

  • ceegonzaga

    Dapat higpitan yung pagbebenta sa minor. Sigarilyo, alak, dapat hindi ibinibenta sa kalsada at dapat magkaroon ng ID system. Ewn ko ba kung bakit umaayaw ang mga polotiko sa ID system. Pagmultahin yung mhuhuling naninigarilyo na under age. I’m responsible enough to smoke. I have the right to smoke. The same way people have the right to inhale lead gas from those smoke belching buses. Besides, cig. tobacco is organic. Magsindi ka ng uling sa kalan, organic, gumamit ka ng kahoy sa pugon organic. Wag nalang kasing ibubuga sa harap ng ibang tao yung usok ng yosi para walang cause ng second hand smoke. Sin tax? Mag mamahal lalo ang yosi nyan, wala akong maiipon pampagamot pag nag ka  lung cancer ako. Guys kung hindi pa kayo addicted sa yosi wag nyo nalang subukan, magastos. 

  • tekateka

    Well, if this is the only way to reduce the population… why not?

    • Yul Dorotheo

      This is not the only way to reduce the population. Killing people (which is what the tobacco industry is doing) is not a positive method of population control.

  • My mom

    Has it been demonstrated by DOH that non-smokers do in fact live longer than smokers? It’s a very simple statistical exercise to do. Yet DOH has skirted the ultimate truth.

  • Yul Dorotheo

    The evidence is clear. Half of all chronic smokers will die prematurely by an average of 10 to 20 years, depending on how much they smoke. 

    It is also clear that the smoking rates are not coming down because of our current law BECAUSE IT IS FULL OF LOOPHOLES. @bokong:disqus , you should do your research better and stop making statements filled with half-truths, much like the tobacco industry. Quite obvious which side you are on.
    Problems with RA9211:
    – smoking ban in public places is not effective because the law allows for smoking areas (hello! does the smoke know that it is not allowed to cross over into the non-smoking area?). Scientifc evidence is clear: only 100% smokefree environments will protect from the harms of tobacco smoke exposure.
    -advertising ban is only applicable to TV, radio, print, and outdoor billboards. Thus the tobacco companies advertise rampantly at every corner store and gas station, even inventing “points of sale” at bars, restaurants, etc.  Tobacco companies have also continued placing mini-billboards on sari-sari stores and challenging in court the spirit of the law that bans outdoor ads. Thus cigarette advertising is still very much a reality (sorry, My Mom, your logic is flawed again).

    Re higher taxes and smuggling:
    There is a lot of evidence that smoking rates will come down when there are higher taxes and prices that affect the ability of consumers to pay the higher prices. This is why tobacco companies will agree to only SMALL, ineffective tax increase that still keep prices affordable. There is also a lot of evidence that smuggling is higher in countries with low taxes/prices and much lower in countries with high taxes/prices. The main factor here is the ability of government to control smuggling (of all products, not just tobacco). Thus countries with much corruption and weak enforcement will have smuggling, no matter how high or low the taxes/prices are.

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