UN concerned about tobacco exhibition in Philippines

The World Health Organization has expressed concern that the Philippines to promote smoking through one of the world’s biggest displays of tobacco trade.

images philipinThe two-day fair called ProTobEx Asia opened on Wednesday in Pasay city for the second year in a row. Organizers said they chose the Philippines elsewhere in Asia due to its bright tobacco industry and “phenomenal” support from the Government of Pasay.

Organizers said that the City refused to Pasay indoor smoking ban in place, the World Trade Center, but Pasay Mayor Antonino Calixto said that the request was denied.

“Members should refrain from puffing cigarettes inside the venue,” he said. “If they do, they will violate existing laws against smoking.”

He said the city would send inspectors to check for compliance.

The media was banned conference on Wednesday and the organizers could not be reached for comment. Anti-smoking protesters held a rally outside the place of call for justice to be closed.

Senior Advisor to the WHO Eigil Sorensen said that the Philippine Government is a party to the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which prohibits tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

“The exhibition should be used to promote tobacco products,” he said in an interview. “We oppose any activity that promotes the use of tobacco, and our advice to the government to withdraw any approval.” UN in the Philippines, including the WHO, wrote President Benigno Aquino III on March 11, to cite government’s commitment to regulate tobacco in the country and to protect the Filipinos from its harmful effects.

Last year, former Philippine finance and health secretaries criticized a similar event, but Aquino sent a greeting, saying that the exhibition for the benefit of the economy.

Approximately 14 million adult Filipinos smoke every day, and about 10 die every hour from tobacco-related diseases, the WHO says.

The Philippines has one of the highest in Asia, smoking, and were some of the lowest prices for tobacco products before the “sin tax” law went into effect this year. He gradually increased the tax on cigarettes to 30 pesos ($ 0.72) or more per pack in 2017, about double the current price. For comparison, a pack of cigarettes costs about $ 1 in Laos, $ 3 in Malaysia, Hong Kong $ 6 and $ 9 in Singapore.

Sorensen said that the aggressive cigarette advertising and promotions, such as the events of Manila, have been shown to encourage young people to start smoking early, and keep them hooked.

“Despite the significant reduction in the prevalence of smoking among young people 13 to 15 years, the tobacco epidemic in the country remains a serious one,” he said.

The tobacco fair organizers said in their advertising claims that the events will feature the latest in primary processing, making cigarettes and packaging.

The Philippines is home for major cigarette and cigar manufacturers such as PMFTC Inc, owned by Philip Morris International Inc, which bought the local tobacco corporations luck in 2010.

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