Dr. Assunta revealed 240 Filipinos die from smoking related disease every day, or 10 every hour, in thePhilippines. The interview throws light on the gravity of the tobacco epidemic in the country, calling upon the government to expedite tobacco control measures.
Dr Assunta said that while the Philippines government is on the right track, however they have to expedite implementation of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Tobacco companies are practicing double standards exporting packs with picture of warnings already to other countries. Cigarettes remain affordable at 2 or 3 peso per stick, hence a further increase in tobacco tax is needed to make cigarettes unaffordable to vulnerable groups such as children and the poor. Tobacco companies have targeted the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam to increase their sales. Hence the region has to work collaboratively to reduce tobacco use.