MANILA, Philippines—Citing a study conducted in the United Kingdom that showed that young, jobless people were twice as likely to smoke as those who were employed, a Quezon City-based health advocacy group called on Congress Thursday to enact a law requiring graphic warnings on cigarette packs sold locally.
HealthJustice Philippines quoted a study released on Sept. 26 by the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) that showed that 39 percent or nearly four of every 10 unemployed persons in the UK smoked, compared with 21 percent or just over two of every 10 persons who were working who smoked.
The ONS found it was the young and jobless who were most likely to smoke, with 54 percent of the unemployed aged 25 to 34 hooked on tobacco products, compared with only 25 percent of those belonging to the same age group but who were employed.
The study also found that smoking rates among those who were employed varied depending on their occupation. It showed that 33 percent of those in lower paid, routine and manual jobs smoked. In contrast, only 14 percent of those in managerial and professional occupations were smokers.
The British Heart Foundation said the study gave more evidence of the link between employment and smoking.
“These figures prove that it is our country’s poor who are most vulnerable to tobacco addiction,” said lawyer Diana Trivino, HealthJustice project manager in a statement.
“Nearly six million people die of tobacco-related causes every year. If unchecked, over 80 percent of those deaths will come from low- to middle-income countries like the Philippines by 2030. We urge our lawmakers to pass a graphic health warnings law, which has been proven to be the most effective smoking deterrent across all socioeconomic groups,” she said.
Several bills mandating the placement of graphic warnings on cigarette packs are pending in Congress filed by Senators Franklin Drilon and Pia Cayetano, Marikina City Rep. Marcelino Teodoro and Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson.
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