|Tobacco use is responsible for six million preventable deaths worldwide annually, with many of these deaths occurring prematurely, data from World Health Organization showed. An additional 600,000 people are estimated to die from being exposed to secondhand smoke.|
Tobacco use also asserts direct and indirect costs to the economy, including healthcare expenditure, productivity loss, absenteeism, and other socioeconomic costs. The economic impact of early death, disability, and lost productivity contributes to the burden of poverty, retarding national development, and further widening of gap in health status between population groups.
At an individual level, a portion of income of a tobacco dependent consumer is diverted away from meaningful and more important household purchases and investments such as food, education, and health.
More upsetting is the fact that 80% of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle- income countries like the Philippines, according to the same WHO data.
The Philippines is one of 15 countries worldwide with a heavy burden of tobacco-related ill health. Annually, 87, 600 Filipinos die from tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco costs the country Php 188 billion (US$ 4 billion) yearly from healthcare expenditures, foregone income from getting sick and from premature death, from only four of more than 40 smoking-related diseases namely lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and stroke. This did not consider the cost and grief of losing a loved one.
Hence, the country recognizes that tobacco control is not only a public health priority but also a key development issue which affects overall quality of life and well-being.
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