2 out of 5 teens smoke – ‘not Cool’, says NYC PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 March 2012 15:31

The National Youth Commission sounded the alarm as the projected number of youth smokers showed a 40% increase in smoking prevalence among young Filipinos (13-15 years old) from 19.6% (1,070,000) in 2003 to 27.3% (1,560,000) in 2007. This is a conservative estimation even after the implementation of the 2004 sin tax (RA 9334). Following this trend and without significant changes in other factors affecting smoking behavior, “the Commission projects that in 2011, smoking prevalence among teens aged 13-15 was 38.2% (2,250,000)” declared NYC Chairperson Leon Flores III.

Flores said the Commission is concerned that the youth have become the new targets or “replacement smokers” of tobacco companies because of the obvious fact that they have longer life span than older smokers hence they have more years to spend smoking. Getting the youth to start smoking would mean eventually producing more adults addicted to it.

NYC Commissioner-at-Large Percival Cendaña stressed that the very minimal increases in tax in 2005 and 2007 were ineffective in curbing smoking among
the youth. Recent studies noted that tobacco products are very affordable and accessible to the youth under the present excise tax rates. In a recent survey conducted by the University of the Philippines Communication Research Society with the support of Health Justice, it was found out that 60% of the sample population will quit smoking if cigarettes will be priced at 5 pesos per stick. “Raising the price of cigarettes will definitely curb smoking among young people” Commissioner Cendaña asserted.

NYC recognizes the need to strengthen the imposition of the current ban on selling tobacco products to minors. Moreover, the Commission calls for the passage of House Bill 5727 (Restructuring Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco) to significantly increase tobacco prices and make it less accessible to the youth as well as generate more funds for a universal health care system in the country. NYC’s stand is supported by Action for Economic Reform (AER), Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), and TV personality and Chef Carlo Gonzalez.

“Layunin po ng aming tanggapan ang ilayo ang kabataan sa bisyo at mga gawaing makakasira sa kanilang kinabukasan. Pag mahal ang presyo ng sigarilyo, mas kakaunti ang bibili dito. Isa lamang po to sa mga naisip naming hakbang para mabawasan ang bisyo sa kabataan” says NYC Chairman Leon Flores III.
The NYC was created in 1996 under the RA 8044 otherwise known as the “Youth in Nation-Building Act,” as the policy-making coordinating body of all youth-related institutions, programs, projects, and activities of the government. It operates under the Office of the President of the Philippines.