Almost 30 percent of adult Pinoys are smokers - survey

As many as 17.3 million Filipinos are smokers, according to the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) done in the country.

The 2009 GATS pegged the number of Filipino adult smokers, those 15 years old and older, at 28.3 percent of the whole population. Meanwhile, the estimated number of Filipinos exposed to second-hand smoke number around 6.1 million.

The study also learned that more than half of Filipino adults, 55 percent, said they get exposed to second-hand smoke in public transportation.

Starting May 30, eve of World No Tobacco Day, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will enforce the country’s laws and regulations on tobacco use. Among the regulations are those of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) banning smoking in commuter vehicles and along major and secondary roads.

Metro Manilans spend over P4B yearly on tobacco

Metro Manilans alone spend at least P4.02 billion every year on tobacco products. This, according to the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) of the National Statistics Office done in 2009 and released only last year.

The 2009 FIES got responses from 18.45 million Filipino families nationwide. These households said that they bought P27 billion worth of tobacco products. Residents of Southern Tagalog (Calabarzon) provinces, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon turned out to be the heaviest smokers:

Southern Tagalog: P4.192 billion (15.57%)

Metro Manila: P4.020 billion (14.93%)

Central Luzon: P4.016 billion (14.92%)

The more members there are in the family, the higher the expenditure on tobacco products, according to the study. Filipino households with ‘less than 4 persons’ spent only P5.306 billion while those with to 4 to 6 persons bought P14.195 billion worth of cigarettes and cigars. Households with more than 6 family members disbursed P7.421 billion.


Misplaced priorities

The NSO also discovered, through the 2009 FIES, that the poorest 30 percent of Filipino households shelled out more for cigarettes than they did for tuition and other education expenses. That is 1.6 percent on tobacco products versus only 1.2 percent on education.

The better-off, the upper 70 percent, had an opposite sense of priorities. They spent only 0.7 percent on tobacco while budgeting 4.6 percent for education. — TJD, GMA News

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