Tobacco firms urged to pay for hospital fees

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2010 03:31 AM | Updated as of Sep 03 2010 11:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Tobacco companies should allot 5% of their net cigarette sales to pay for testing and hospitalization fees of people who have smoking-related illness, a lawmaker said Thursday.

AGHAM party-list Representative Angelo Palmones has filed House Bill 2005 to compel cigarette-makers to share in the health costs of smoking.

He cited Department of Health (DOH) studies showing that of an estimated 17 million smokers in the country, 250 die every day or around 90,000 annually.

He also mentioned studies stating that around 200,000 Filipino men develop smoking-related diseases, resulting in productivity losses. 

"It was estimated in 1999, that to provide healthcare for these sick men, and the loss in productivity, cost Filipino taxpayers some P43 billion," Palmones added.

Palmones said smoking affects the economy, as productivity is affected when workers tend to use their time for work in smoking.

Their livelihood also takes a hit when they become sick because of tobacco use, he added.

Palmones said smoke from cigarettes can cause upper respiratory and pulmonary diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiolities, bronchogenic carcinoma, and lung cancer.

"Smoke is irritating to many individuals especially those who are allergic to it and can trigger asthma attack. Laryngitis can also be caused by exposure to heavy tobacco and cigarette smoke," he said.