MANILA, Philippines – Citing a study by two universities in Scotland, anti-tobacco advocates yesterday cautioned the public that cutting down on cigarette consumption will not lessen the health risks that the habit poses.
In a statement, the laryngeal cancer survivor group New Vois Association of the Philippines said that the public should not be misled by the notion that by slowing down on smoking, the chance of getting sick will also be reduced.
New Vois president Emer Rojas noted that based on a study by the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling in Scotland, smoking less does not reduce the risk of premature death.
“This is a call to those who think that smoking less will be enough to save their health. Quitting smoking is the only proven way to avoid the deadly risks of the habit. Quit smoking before your body quits you,” Rojas said.
The study covered two populations of more than 5,000 men and women smokers aged 40 to 65 in Scotland.
The subjects were screened repeatedly from 1970 to 2010 and were grouped according to the intensity of their smoking.
The respondents were observed and questioned as to whether they quit, reduced, maintained or increased their smoking.
Their mortality rates during the study period were also evaluated.
The study revealed that there was no evidence of lower mortality among those who reduced their cigarette consumption, while those who quit smoking altogether were found to have lower death rates.
For its part, the non-governmental organization Health Justice Philippines renewed its call for “better regulation policies such as enforcing 100 percent smoke-free environments, mandating graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, and banning all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.”
Health Justice project manager lawyer Diana Trivino said the Philippines remains as the top tobacco-consuming country in Southeast Asia and is among the top 20 smoking nations around the world.