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Many Filipinos Exposed To Second-Hand Smoke According to GATS

The Department of Health (DOH) today said that almost half of the Filipinos surveyed in the first Philippine Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) revealed that they live in homes where smoking is allowed. Accordint to GATS data, almost half (48.8% or 29.8 million) of Filipinos are exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes and 54% (32.9 million) reported that someone smokes at least monthly in their homes.

In coordination with the National Statistics Office, a total of 9,705 individuals in rural and urban areas of the country 15 years of age and older (to represent 61.3 million Filipinos) were selected and interviewed in 2009. Of this number, 28.3% were current tobacco smokers, representing 17.3 million Filipinos and 22.5% or approximately 13.8 million Filipinos smoke every day. The average age of initiation for daily smokers 18-34 years old was 17.4 years old.

The knowledge, attitude and perception of the respondents that smoking causes serious illness were very high at 94%; 95.6% believe that smoking can cause lung cancer, heart attack (81.3%) and stroke (75.5%).

More importantly, among those who work indoors, 65.4% of their worksites have policies “disallowing” smoking yet 13.9% were exposed to second hand smoke (SHS). More than a quarter (25.5%) of Filipinos who visited a government building during the past 30 days were similarly exposed. while 55.3% (28 million) Filipinos who used the public transport during the past month were exposed to SHS.

According to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral

This is why we are urging cigarette manufacturers to put graphic health warnings on their products

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