QUEZON CITY, March 16 (PIA) -- The National Youth Commission (NYC) is pushing for higher taxes on cigarettes to discourage Filipino youth from acquiring the deadly habit.
In a press conference this morning, the NYC pushed for the passage of House Bill 5722 or the bill “Restructuring Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco,” in order to significantly increase tobacco prices and make it less accessible to the youth.
“We have one of the cheapest prices of cigarettes, not only in Southeast Asia but also in the Asian region,” Percival Cendana, NYC commissioner said.
At present, a local cigarette stick costs P2. The NYC also said a recent study by the University of the Philippines-Diliman Communication Research Society revealed that 60 percent of its respondents will quit smoking if cigarettes were priced at P5 per stick.
The NYC said in a press release that based on its “conservative estimation,” two out five Filipino teens aged 13 to 15 years smoked in 2011.
The commission’s computation was based on a Global Youth Tobacco Survey by the World Health Organization which showed that 19.6 percent of the age group smoked in 2003. This figure increased to 27.3 percent in 2007. The NYC estimated that youth smokers increased by 40 percent last year.
Cendana said this could be attributed to most teenagers’ notion that smoking is “cool” and that education campaign on the ill effects of smoking have been unsuccessful.
He also said that very minimal increases in excise tax in 2005 and 2007 were ineffective in curbing smoking among the youth.(RDA/CJS-PIA GHQ)