The Department of Health is challenging the Negros Occidental and Bacolod governments to aim for 100 percent tobacco-free environments.
Dr. Julia Villanueva, DOH 6 Non-Communicable Disease Control Program cluster head, said most of the recipients of the 2012 DOH Red Orchid Awards given in recognition of local government units, government offices and hospitals implementing 100 percent tobacco-free environments, were from Panay, except for the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City.
Winners were chosen on the strength of their comprehensive efforts in the implementation of a 100 percent Tobacco-Free Environment following the World Health Organization’s “MPOWER” , an acronym for six proven tobacco control polices: Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn against the dangers tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising; and Raise taxes on tobacco, Villanueva said.
All over the world one person dies every 6 seconds due to tobacco smoking. Data from the World Health Organization shows that tobacco kills up to half of its users. Currently tobacco smoking causes 6 million deaths every year worldwide. This is more than the deaths due to TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined, a DOH report furnished by Villanueva showed.
Five million of these are current smokers and ex-users while the rest are second hand smokers, the report said, adding that smoking has caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century.
Unless urgent action is taken 8 million deaths shall have occurred per year by 2030, and 80 percent of these deaths will occur in developing countries, the report added.
Although government revenue for tobacco taxes is about P23 billion annually, economic losses due to productivity and health care costs of the top four tobacco related diseases are conservatively estimated at P149 billion annually, Vivllanueva said.*CPG