Priest urges gov't for stricter rules on smoking

June 11, 2012 9:44 pm 

MANILA, June 10 — A Catholic priest urged the government to implement stricter rules on smoking, particularly on teen smokers and recommended a strong anti-smoking campaign that can help control or reduce the number of teen smokers.

Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Youth Commission of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said a stricter implementation of the law against smoking by minors was the best way to lessen teen smokers.

“Other than the stricter rules, massive anti-smoking campaign can help minors to be educated as regards to the danger of smoking so that they would know the threats of it,” he said.

When asked about the reason of rampant teen smokers, Garganta mentioned three main reasons.

“At a very young age, young people tend to smoke because of what they see from elders, the influence is one factor. Second, many minors are easily attracted to smoking through peer pressure. And perhaps, the weak implementation of the law that prohibits young person from smoking is the third reason,” he said.

He said that an increase in price of cigarette would not dramatically reduce the number of minors getting into smoking.

Garganta believes that Church leaders must also educate young people to stay away from vices that can become an addiction.

“With this, it can help lessen the number of young people into vices particularly smoking at a young age, that destroys the body,” he said.

Earlier this year, the National Youth Commission (NYC) of the government raised an alarm on the growing number of young Filipinos into smoking, with two out of five aged 13 to 15 based on their 2011 survey.

NYC estimated that 2.3 million or 39.2 percent of the country's 5.89 million youth population, engaged in cigarette smoking.

On June 6, the Lower House in Congress approved on the third and final reading House Bill 5727 (Restructuring Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco) which would raise taxes of tobacco and alcohol products. (PNA) RMA/PR/magi

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