MANILA- More than 1 million Filipinos have quit tobacco smoking, a survey released by the Department of Health showed.
The Global Adult Tobacco Survey or GATS, which specifically monitors adult tobacco use, showed that only 15.9 million Filipino adults smoke tobacco products compared to the 17 million Filipinos last 2009.
Second hand smoking also declined in some areas but exposure to smoking in bars and nightclubs is as high as 86.3 percent, while it is at 33.6 percent in restaurants.
The survey was first conducted in 2009 and repeated in 2015 by Philippine Statistics Authority in coordination with the DOH. It was released by the department together with the World Health Organization.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the survey result is the biggest decline that the Philippines has seen.
“This is the biggest decline we have seen in Philippine history, and we can do more to stop the suffering caused by this epidemic,” she said.
She said the decrease could be attributed to the anti-cancer tax or sin-tax, and graphic health ordinances and policies of different local government units.
Ubial added that the executive order for a nationwide smoking ban will be signed as soon as President Rodrigo Duterte arrives from his foreign trips.
Duterte is on official visit to Myanmar and Thailand.