Online petition raises alarm on ‘unhealthy’ products | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Before the recent University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball finals in which National University emerged as champion, Arvin Maceda, who identifies himself as a student of the University of the Philippines Manila and an intern of the nongovernment organization Health Justice, launched a petition through the website to encourage the league’s stars to join the anti-smoking campaign.


From Maceda’s petition, it appears that, given the legal restrictions on cigarette manufacturers because of serious health hazards posed by smoking, the companies are now targeting young people to create a new market to make up for lost customers.


In his petition, Maceda says, “We think this is outrageous: The places where high school and college students like me hang out are now filled with tobacco advertisements encouraging us to START SMOKING (underscoring from Maceda).”


He adds that during the UAAP opening ceremonies last year, “promo girls, clad in the brand’s signature black, red and white, were giving away free lighters…” Tobacco companies, he points out, also sponsor highly popular events.


Maceda is not alone in his concern on how products that pose health risks are being promoted in events that are popular with the youth.


An Associated Press report from Brisbane, Australia, written by Dennis Passa, says, “The biggest and most influential sporting groups in Australia are being criticized for signing ‘unhealthy’ and high-profile sponsorship deals with beer and liquor companies, gambling agencies and fast-food chains.”


Passa cites a study by the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, which

“reveals (that) nearly three-quarters of national and state-government-funded sporting bodies are sponsored by companies promoting ‘harmful’ products.”


Both Maceda and the health experts Passa talked to call attention to the disconnect between sports—“supposed to be a link to health,” as study researcher Rona Macniven puts it—and the unhealthy products promoted by sponsors during those events.


Maceda says UAAP fans expect “our role models to speak up for the youth and make a stand against smoking.”


He adds: “With the league’s millions of fans who look up to it for the pride it gives to their schools and… because they are cool… without the ‘help’ of a cigarette,” UAAP players are in the best position to do this.


‘Safer’ bug repellents


Human Nature, the consumer-manufacturing arm of Gawad Kalinga, which promotes sustainable housing communities for the poor, has come up with two anti-mosquito products under the brand name Bug Shield to help prevent dengue.


Anna Meloto-Wilk, co-founder and president of Gandang Kalikasan, Inc., maker of Human Nature products, says Bug Shield is 100-percent DEET-free. DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the active ingredient in many insect repellents.


Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency gives the assurance that “normal use” of DEET is not a health risk, many people remain concerned about its long-term effects, especially since it’s a nonorganic chemical.


Wilk says Human Nature’s     100-percent Natural Bug Shield Moisturizing DEET-Free Oil and 100-percent Natural Bug Shield are made primarily from citronella. Moreover, every purchase of the products provide sustainable livelihood to farming communities, which are the sources of raw materials for Bug Shield.


“Buying Bug Shield is a concrete and direct way for ordinary Filipinos to make an impact. You get safe and effective mosquito protection while helping improve the lives of the poor,” she says.


Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]

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