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Noel Francis T.

Galinato E26

March 18, 2013

Change Smokers

Smoking is one of the worlds leading causes of death. Tobacco smoking kills approximately six million people every year; five million are users and exusers while six hundred thousand are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke (who.int). In the 20th century, tobacco smoking caused 100 million deaths. If current trends continue, tobacco smoking will cause up to 1 billion deaths in the 21st century. In the Philippines, smoking also takes its toll. Cigarette prices in the Philippines have always been cheap - cigarette packs range from 15-30 pesos or less than a dollar. This makes cigarette packs and sticks easily accessible to the masses. In relation to that, 10 Filipinos die each hour due to smoking-caused diseases. Not only does smoking affect the Philippines in terms of health, it also affects the country in terms of the finances. The Philippines loses billions of pesos due to health and economic costs from smoking (newsinfo.inquirer.net). Last December 20, President Benigno Aquino III enacted the Sin Tax Bill, authored by Reps. Eulogio Amang Magsaysay, Romeo M. Jalosjos Jr., and Seth Frederick P. Jalosjos. It is officially known as Republic Act 10351, An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco (rappler.com). The bill is a great instrument for promoting health and discipline despite withdrawal

symptoms because it increases cigarette prices and consequently improves the healthcare facilities in the country such as the universal healthcare coverage program, upgrading of medical centers, and local and regional hospitals. The Sin Tax Bill is also an avenue for increasing revenues because it imposes taxes on cigarettes. The President referred to the bill as a Christmas gift to the Filipinos (newsinfo.inquirer.net). The bill being a Christmas gift to the Filipinos promotes health. With the increase in prices, cigarettes become less accessible to the masses. The World Health Organization recommends that the excise tax on cigarettes must be at least 70 percent (Philippine House of Representatives 2012). Cigarettes packed by hand will have an increase of 12 pesos per pack. Those packed by machines will also have an equal amount of increase if the cost per pack is 11.50 pesos or below, and 25 pesos for the packs that cost more (rappler.com). In connection with this, the Sin Tax Bill also promotes health by using the generated revenue to improve the healthcare programs in the country. A portion of the revenue generated from the tax will go to government healthcare projects. 23 billion pesos will go to the universal healthcare coverage program of the Philippine Health Inscurance Crop. (Philhealt). 10 million pesos will go to the repairing and upgrading of 618 hospitals managed by local government units. Each 16 regional hospitals and 22 medical centers will receive 100 million pesos for the same upgrading (gmanetwork.com). The Sin Tax Bill also promotes discipline among the Filipinos. Currently, there are around 17.3 million Filipinos aged 15 years and above who smoke

(census.gov.ph). Given that the Philippines is a developing country with a population of more than 50 percent middle class and monetarily challenged citizens, the increase of cigarette prices will lessen the number of smokers. The middle class is divided into upper middle class and lower middle class; the average annual income of the upper middle class Filipino is 603 thousand pesos while the lower middle class has 191 thousand pesos as their average annual income. Meanwhile, the monetarily challenged Filipinos annual income averages to 62 thousand pesos (pinoymoneytalk.com). Smokers who fall under these socioeconomic classes will have to either quit or lessen their smoking since cigarette prices have increased. Quitting smoking can also cause problems and nuisance to a smoker. Sudden withdrawal from the habit of smoking can cause side effects, collectively known as withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms include dizziness, anxiety, and irritability. This is due to the bodys dependence on nicotine, the addictive chemical found in the tobacco of cigarettes that activates the pleasure sensors in the brain (lung.ca). Although withdrawal symptoms seem problematic, these are temporary and can be alleviated. The irritability only lasts within two to four weeks. If a person experiences this, he or she can take a walk, exercise, and relax by taking a hot bath, listening to soft music, or getting a massage (lung.ca). These methods can easily be done by anyone. In a larger scale, the Sin Tax Bill addresses financial issues in the Philippine government. Budget deficiency in the Philippine government has

always been a challenge. The budget deficit for the year 2011 according to the Department of Budget Management was 191.1 billion pesos (Philippine House of Representatives 2012). In accordance, the Sin Tax Bill has been enacted into law in order to generate additional revenue for the country. Currently, the government is expecting thirty-three billion ninety-six million pesos from the bill for the year 2013. Also the revenue continually increases throughout time due to the inflation rate. The government predicts that the Sin Tax Bill will generate 42 billion in 2014, 50 billion in 2015, 56 billion in 2016, and 64 billion in 2017 (rappler.com). The figures stated will help the Philippine government in terms of finances and budgeting. Smoking is a detriment to a persons health. With the Sin Tax Bill, the number of smokers in the Philippines will gradually decrease. It can save the lives of thousands of Filipinos those who are yet to start smoking, those who have just started smoking, those who smoke, and those who will be, has been, and is affected by second-hand smoking. The Sin Tax Bill is an efficient tool for promoting health and discipline, and generating additional revenue.

Bibliography: Tobacco. World Health Organization, 2012. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/index.html> Tubeza, Philip C. Smoking kills 10 Filipinos every hour. Inquirer News, 19 September 2011. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/61111/smoking-kills-10-filipinos-every-hour> Rappler.com. Aquino signs historic sin tax bill into law. Rappler Beta, 21 December 2012. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://www.rappler.com/nation/18254-aquino-signs-historic-sin-tax-billinto-law> Ubac, Michael Lim. Aquino signs sin tax bill into law. Inquirer News, 21 December 2012. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/327633/2-laws-2-gifts-for-filipinos> Philippine House of Represntatives 2012. An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products. 15th Cong., 2nd sess., HB 06188. Rappler.com. Higher booze, cigarette prices as sin tax law takes effect. Rappler Beta, 1 January 2013. Web. 16 March 2013. <http://www.rappler.com/business/18928-higher-booze,-cigarette-pricesas-sin-tax-law-takes-effect> Tan, Kimberly Jane. Senate passes sin tax bill adding at least P12 per cigarette pack. GMA News, 20 November 2012. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/283090/news/nation/senatepasses-sin-tax-bill-adding-at-least-p12-per-cigarette-pack>

Ericta, (Sgd.) Carmelita .17.3 Million Filipino Adults Are Current Tobacco Smokers. Republic of the Philippines: National Statistics Office. Web. 9 March 2013. < http://www.census.gov.ph/article/173-million-filipino-adults-are-current-

tobacco-smokers2012-08-16-1700> Smoking and Tobacco. The Lung Association. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/tobacco-tabagisme/quittingcesser/withdrawal-sevrage_e.php> Socioeconomic (SEC) classes ABCDE: Percentage of population. Pinoymoneytalk.com, 12 October 2012. Web. 9 March 2013. <http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/sec-abcde-percentage-population/>