Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Statement on the Sin Tax Bill

Late on the evening of Nov. 20, 2012, the Philippine senate voted on a Sin Tax measure for the sale of Tobacco and Alcohol products (Senate Bill 3299). The passing of this bill is undoubtedly a milestone in the public health efforts of the Philippines to reduce the number of existing smokers, as well as deterring young smokers from starting. At the same time, the revenues generated from the taxes will be used to progress two objectives of the Aquino Agenda: the enrollment of families into Phil Health and the much needed improvement of our country's health facilities. 

Tobacco is mainly responsible for the cause of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Smoking also causes cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, low birth weight in infants, and a number of other unhealthy conditions.

Tobacco is public health's biggest enemy and therefore; reducing prevalence of smoking and preventing its onset is within our mandate. As future health care providers, we must not forget that we are also the guardians of the future of our country's public health. 

With the passing of the Sin Tax bill, progress has been made, but we must always remember to remain vigilant, for the battle against the powerful tobacco industry is often uncertain.

Lloyd Virgil C. Mesina
National Officer for Public Health
AMSA Philippines

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