Manila, Philippines, October 2: “The youth, especially those still in school, should not be exposed to the habit of smoking. They are impressionable and can easily pick up the habit set for them by their friends, family, and authority figures,” says Commissioner Leon Flores of the National Youth Commission.
There is no doubt that cigarette smoking leads to nicotine addiction, as proven by recent medical and health studies. Other harmful effects of tobacco use include: increased chances of contracting non-communicable diseases such as cancer, future reproductive problems, and a drop in stamina, endurance, and performance in physical activities.
“Exposing children to such a horrible habit paves the way for a life of pain and suffering. Those who smoke at a tender age usually have a harder time quitting. At the prime of their life, they are already at risk of life-threatening diseases. Those who smoke early, die early,” continues Flores.
Youth leaders understand these dangers associated with smoking. “It is unfortunate that the number of youth smokers continue to rise. At such a young age, it is encouraged to focus on schoolwork, develop relationships with friends and family and engage in extracurricular activities. Smoking is a distraction and a hindrance to all these,” says Cathy Alcantara of the Student Council Association of the Philippines.
“It is our responsibility as adults to inform them that smoking is not worth trying. More importantly, it is the duty of our leaders to step up and implement tobacco control measures to emphasize the dangers of cigarette use,” says Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice Philippines.
“When cigarettes are priced at Php 2 per stick, it is no wonder the youth succumb to curiosity and peer pressure to try smoking. Cheap cigarettes makes smoking readily
available and easily affordable to children. Measures such as raising excise tax on tobacco products should be taken to protect the youth from the harmful effects of smoking and to discourage them from even starting,” continues Reyes.
HealthJustice Philippines is a non-profit government organization and is a recent recipient of the prestigious Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control. ###