WHO urges Philippine senate to block tobacco lobby
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The World Health Organization is urging Philippine senators to pass a bill that would jack up cigarette taxes to discourage smoking and raise revenues for universal health care. It says the lawmakers should resist lobbying by the tobacco industry against the bill.
Dr. Soe Nyunt-U said Friday that raising taxes on cigarettes is the "most powerful policy tool" to reduce tobacco use. He said the tobacco industry should not be consulted on public health issues.
Philippine Health Undersecretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said 17.3 million Filipinos smoke, about three out of 10 adults. That is one of Southeast Asia's highest prevalence rates. She says 87,000 Filipinos die yearly of tobacco-related diseases.
Chris Nelson, president of PMFTC Inc., which controls over 90 percent of the Philippine cigarette market, was unavailable for comment.
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