Sunday, March 14, 2010

More effective like Yosi Kadiri

February 12, Gateway Suite, QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES -- In line with the “Mga Nagbabagang Kwento: Tobacco Control Media Project of Framework Convention of Tobacco Control Alliance – Philippines,” together with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Probe Media Foundation Inc, there would be a three-part discussion about tobacco control on this blog.

After discussing the effect of smoking to health and the new marketing strategies of tobacco companies, we end up on my third entry for my “Mga Nagbabagang Kwento: Tobacco Control Media Project,” on the government implementation on tobacco control.

During the times of former Senator Juan Flavier as the Health secretary in 1992, he created a campaign that woes smokers and reminds them on the effects of smoking through the tarred monster known as “Yosi Kadiri.” Yosi Kadiri is depicted puffing smoke while on its green-yellow face it shows the effect of smoke, tar and nicotine on the physical appearance of a person. Unfortunately, Yosi Kadiri didn’t last until Flavier ran for Senate and gave up being a DOH secretary seat in 1995. The succeeding DOH secretaries didn’t carry over this campaign. Instead, they focus on other projects.

The Yosi Kadiri project was expensive to maintain, according to DOH Undersecretary Alex Padilla. According to Padilla, DOH is looking for other opportunities and concepts that would win the consciousness of smokers like what Flavier did before. He looks on the possible implementation on the international tobacco control policy, which includes smoke free implementation on buildings and companies. However, the real scenario is that smoking rooms/areas exist, which doesn’t prevent people from smoking. While in other areas, cigarettes are sold upon request of the buy, and it is not fully displayed in convenient stores or markets. In the Philippines though, tobacco products are sold even in sidewalks which the youth has an easy access on it. Here is statement of Usec Padilla on the international tobacco control policy:

Tobacco companies may be re-channeling their market strategies, but there are existing laws which would halt obvious scenarios such as minors buying cigarettes. The only thing that is needed in this campaign is political will, proper implementation of the law and expanding the possible implementation of the international policy in the Philippines. Each day, someone dies because of a tobacco-related disease.

Is warning text enough to remind people of the health risk they would be getting in cigarette smoking? Or is it time to implement an image-based warning to show the smokers the health problem that they would be facing every time they smoke. As my third and last tobacco control entry for the “Mga Nagbabagang Kwento: Tobacco Control Media Project,” I would be leaving this anti-tobacco campaign blog post with Australia implementing an image-based warning on cigarette smoking. Now, if Australians could do it, why couldn’t we implement here in the Philippines?

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