The Department of Health and the New Vois Association of the Philippines, with support from the World Lung Foundation, will rollout a new anti-smoking campaign to highlight the dangers of tobacco on users and secondhand smokers.
The campaign, which will feature two fifteen and 30-second video commercials to be aired on national television and LED billboards starting August 8, hopes to reach 40 million viewers aged 15 and 64 years.
One of the public service announcements was titled “Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive” and carries the message that smoking destroys vital organs and tissues causing conditions such as stroke, cancer of the mouth, neck, and throat.
The other video commercial was titled “Cigarettes Are Eating Your Baby Alive” and highlights the health hazards of secondhand smoke to children. The infomercial warns that exposing babies to tobacco smoke subjects them to thousands of harmful chemicals and this may contribute to a more serious condition such as sudden infant death syndrome.
NVAP President and Global Cancer Ambassador Emer Rojas said the project aims to strengthen the country’s anti-smoking campaign and raise awareness on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
“Smoking as well as secondhand smoke kills 10 Filipinos an hour. People should be warned against consuming tobacco so they don’t become its victim like me,” said Rojas, a stage 4 laryngeal cancer survivor and a former smoker who now speaks through the help of an electronic vibration machine attached to his neck.
Smoking-related diseases kill an estimated 87,600 Filipinos every year as 40 percent of men and 8.2 percent of women consume tobacco. Deaths associated to smoking in the Philippines are higher than the average in other middle-income countries.
Rojas said children exposed to secondhand smoke at home and outside are at risk of developing lung cancer and coronary heart disease. The Tobacco Atlas estimates that secondhand smoke increases the risks of a person contracting lung cancer by 30 percent and coronary heart disease by 25 percent.
“Tobacco contains 7,000 chemicals and 70 cancer-causing agents. If it’s harmful for adults imagine how deadly it could be for babies and children whose bodies are not fully developed and whose immunity to sickness are not as high as those older than them,” said Rojas.
Lung cancer is the leading type of cancer for both sexes in the Philippines. While there is no available data how many children get sick from secondhand smoke, it is estimated that around 3,000 non-smoking adult Filipinos die of lung cancer from inhaling tobacco emission.
Rojas said the infomercials would contain graphic images that will form part of the templates to be used when tobacco companies are mandated to comply to provisions of the graphic health warnings law starting October 2015. (Click photos below to enlarge)