The Filipino youth join participants from 124 countries in a commitment to choose health over tobacco
Last March 19-20, 2012, an event entitled “Towards a tobacco-free world: YOUTH can make a difference” at the 15th Conference on Tobacco or Health 2012 was held at Suntec City Convention Center, Singapore.
Tobacco control champions and experts discussed an overview of issues of the advocacy. But more than educating the youth, the program aimed to encourage them to implement tobacco control strategies in their specific countries.
Dr. Nick Schneider, member of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network and Advisory Board Member of the European Union Campaign “Help – For a Life without Tobacco” encouraged the participants to fight against the tobacco epidemic: “we can win this fight but we have a long way to go.”
The participants had the opportunity to network with other participants from other regions to plan for the upcoming World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
In line with the upcoming theme of World No Tobacco Day, youth participants from Southeast Asia worked together on a plan to conduct activities against tobacco industry interference in their own countries but with the context of a regional collaboration. Before the date, several campaigns and efforts with mass media will be put forth to educate, engage, and mobilize the rest of the youth population in the region about tobacco control.
“We just need to work together and support each other as we fight against tobacco. There is no better time for us, youth, to do this but now,” said Einstein Rojas of the New Vois Association of the Philippines.
Recently, National Youth Commission has loudly expressed its alarm regarding the increasing prevalence of smoking among teenagers and has recently stressed its support to reforming tobacco taxes in the country to prevent the young ones from smoking.
HealthJustice media officer and youth representative Erika Casila shares, “This conference truly clarifies the urgent tobacco predicament that the entire world, more so the Philippines, must solve. It is indeed affirming to know that we have strong, committed allies in every country and that this fight is rooted in doing what is right.”
World Health Organization estimates 6,000,000 tobacco-related deaths around the globe every year. In the Philippines, it has been reported that 240 suffer tobacco-related death every day.