Dr. Raul Lapitan

PHILIPPINE HEART ASSOCIATION Stand On House Bill 4144 or The Anti-Health Amendments of The Sin Tax Law

The passage of the Sin Tax Law has come to be one of the monumental feats reached in the last 10 years in the history of Philippine legislation for two main reasons: First, It introduced a systematic approach towards reconditioning Filipino consumers’ choices that is actually conducive to health best practices. And 2. it successfully showcased the country’s ability of instituting a mandate careening towards healthier individuals and healthier communities.

Concurrent research and survey data gathered since the Law’s inception four years ago have already jolted eight million smokers to leave their tobacco habits – proving once and for all how the power of legislation markedly affects public health opinion, according to the Department of Health.

In this respect, the Philippine Heart Association is one with the medical community’s enmity in the Congress’ current attempt to implement the House Bill 4144 amendment, of which workings threaten to derail and override an otherwise effective campaign preventing, to the extent of impeding, cardiopulmonary diseases which constantly rests as one of the top causes of mortality among Filipinos.

It took 15 years for the Sin Tax Law to finally be formulated in full recognition of the concern on public health. The effort put forth by the responsible figures who instigated this should not cause us to be complacent and lay waste to those years spent on fighting and seeking justice for lives taken by the perils of tobacco.

Higher taxes slapped on the manufacturers result in higher costs that are a big deterrent to use of cigarette or “sin” products. According to the DOH, the Philippines has an estimated 17.3M smokers, the most number of smokers in Southeast Asia. This high consumption rate is ascribed to the fact that prices of cigarette in the Philippines are cheap.

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When it acts with other factors like unhealthy food, high blood pressure diabetes and obesity, it greatly increases risk. Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery. It is also a risk factor for peripheral artery disease (PAD), a disease in which plaque. build up in the arteries that carries blood to the head, organs and limbs. People who have PAD are at increased risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for young men and women and is the most important preventable cause of premature cardiovascular death. It produces a greater relative risk in persons under age 50 than in those over 50, according to foreign study.

Smoking damages not only the heart and blood vessels but almost every organ in the body. The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells, function of the heart and the structure of the blood vessels, therefore increases your risk of atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries). Coronary heart disease sets in //if plaque builds up in the coronary (heart) arteries.

This, therefore, is a message to support this significant battle for everyone’s health. if you want to be prohealth, so be it. No ifs and no buts. No compromise to heart health. Thank you. END


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