Tobacco, like chocolate bars, targets kids - group
MANILA - Tobacco firms are now marketing their products to target children and women as replacement for adult smokers, a group said.
Emer Rojas, Global Cancer Ambassador and President of NewVois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), said tobacco companies are now making their packaging attractive by putting color or looking like chocolate bars.
“Tobacco companies are targeting kids as replacement for adult smokers with low and middle-income countries like the Philippines experiencing the full impact of this aggressive marketing. The industry is doing its best to circumvent the law by challenging technicalities like what ‘point-of-sale establishments,’ mean,” he said.
This means that posters of tobacco products are still all over sari-sari stores where children buy their candies, he said.
“They may not be exposed to cigarette ads in the movies or on television, but sari-sari stores have become a haven for tobacco companies to promote smoking,” said Rojas, who contracted laryngeal cancer due to smoking that started when he was just a teenager.
Besides posters, these mom-and-pop stores have their signages made by the tobacco companies.
Citing a recent study conducted by the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in six low and middle-income countries including China, Rojas said two-thirds of children aged 5 to 6 can identify at least one tobacco brand.
He also said the study showed children get their exposure to these products mainly through their environment.
The Philippines has one of the highest number of youth smokers in Southeast Asia with 17.5% girls and 28.3% boys aged 13-15 years consuming tobacco.
It ranks second to Indonesia in the most number of adult smokers in the region at 17.3 million.