Philippines: Health group pushes for increase of tobacco tax

6 May 2018:

A health group has called on the government to discuss the need to further increase tobacco tax in the country.

“The President has always been vocal about his strong desire to protect families and children from the harms of tobacco. He was able to strongly enforce the smoke-free ordinance of Davao City when he was still its mayor, gaining admiration from different parts of the globe,” said Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza, president of HealthJustice group.

“We now call on President Duterte and his cabinet members to take further steps to make the Philippines truly tobacco-free by actively pushing for the increase of tobacco tax, a health measure known to effectively minimize the consumption of tobacco products,” Mendoza added.

Mendoza said tobacco tax increase will help fund the universal health care reforms which is being considered by the administration.

“Tobacco tax is essentially a life-saving health measure. Increasing it significantly will discourage the youth and the poor from smoking. We urge our leaders in the executive branch of the government, especially President Duterte, Health Secretary Duque and Finance Secretary Dominguez, to do what is within their powers to advance tobacco tax increase and save at least one million lives by 2022,” Mendoza said.

Increasing tobacco tax has been described by the World Health Organization’s former director general Margaret Chan as “one of the most effective – and cost-effective – ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue, ” the group said.

At least 240 people die every day in the country due to smoking-related diseases, the group claimed.

Source: Manila Bulletin