Health should not be sacrificed for profit, say anti-tobacco advocates

March 19, 2013 11:38 pm 

MANILA, March 19 — The continued sanction of the trade show featuring tobacco innovations and merchandise by the government is inconsistent with its stand on health, according to public health advocates on Tuesday.

President of the New Vois Association of the Philippines, Emer Rojas in a press briefing explained that these tobacco industries and suppliers as well as the government should at least discourage the people from using these deadly products.

New Vois is an organization composed of cancer victims and disabled persons, many of whom attribute their illness to tobacco.

“Don’t sacrifice our health for profit,” Rojas said, in a statement. “No amount of money can justify death and disease. We lose more than what is gained in the long run.

Rojas, who was also Global Cancer Ambassador, was himself a victim of smoking and throat cancer. He now uses an Electrolarynx (a medical device used to produce clearer speech by those who have lost their original voice box) to speak.

He, among other health advocates intends to intensify their protests to drive out the expo organizers and exhibitors.

“If the tobacco industry feels that they are very welcome in the Philippines, we are here to tell them otherwise,” Rojas said.

“Knowing the danger it brings to our people, we should not allow any activity that tends to encourage the use of tobacco product,” he added. “We should work against promoting it.”

With the signing of the Sin Tax Reform Law (R.A. 10351), health advocates said that they will continue to join efforts to protect public health policies from interests of the tobacco industry and implement strong tobacco control.

Through the Department of Health Center-National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) Regional Director Eduardo Janairo, a call to action was made in light of the coming ProToBex Asia annual trade show which will be held in Manila by tobacco manufacturers and advertisers.

Since the idea of completely banning the expo from taking place is unfeasible, health advocates with help from civil society and local government units will be inspecting and monitoring the organizers in case they intend on violating regulation laws of creating a false impression that smoking is acceptable when it actually lures customers to deadly products.

“Let us put a stop to the harmful effects of smoking,” Janairo said in a statement. “By intensifying our commitment and plans to reduce tobacco use, it will no longer become a public health threat to our country.”

“The DOH will continue to work to ensure that tobacco elimination and control will remain its primary objective,” Janairo added. (PNA)

DSP/ANP

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