10 Filipinos die every hour due to smoking

By Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2011 06:30 PM | Updated as of May 14 2011 02:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Emer Rojas, 53, uses an electronic larynx whenever he has to speak.

It's been 9 years since he was first diagnosed with stage 4 laryngeal cancer.

He started smoking when he was just 17. Now, he regrets not being able to kick the habit.

"Mahirap. You have to exert effort. Kapag maingay, 'di ka na maintindihan. 'Di na rin ako nakakatawa dahil wala ng hangin," Rojas said.

According to Dr. Encarnita Limpin of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP), aside from cancer, smokers are prone to strokes and heart attacks.

"Kahit isang benepisyo walang makukuha sa sigarilyo dahil may 7,000 chemicals ito na nakakasama," said Limpin.

Experts said just one pull from a cigarette is already bad for your health.

Chemicals like nicotine will immediately be taken into the system through air passages, the lungs and veins.

Sickness begins when the substances spread and circulate throughout the body.

According to records of the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization, 10 Filipinos die every hour due to smoking. That's over 80,000 Filipinos every year.

This is why the DOH is pushing that graphic images of the negative effects of smoking be placed on cigarette packs.

The agency also wants to start a campaign to urge smokers to quit the habit.