WHO concern at Philippine's support for tobacco fair

The Philippines has a strong tobacco industry, but it pledged to ban advertising

International health officials have expressed deep concern that the government of the Philippines appears to be condoning smoking by hosting one of the world’s largest tobacco trade shows. The World Health Organisation has written to President Benigno Aquino, pointing out that the Philippines has pledged to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

The ProTobEx Asia show, which claims it will feature some of the latest innovations from the world of cigarette making and packaging, opened on Wednesday in the Pasay district of Manila, the capital. It is the second year in succession that the country has hosted the fair, which is said to attract some of the industry’s biggest players.

“The Philippines has a vibrant tobacco industry. Tobacco has played, and continues to play, an important role in the domestic economy, earning millions of dollars for the country,” says the ProTobEx website. “There is a long and rich history of tobacco cultivation dating back hundreds of years, and the Philippines produces a wide variety of tobacco types from a strong and resilient agricultural base.” One of the event’s organisers is also reported to have praised the “phenomenal” support of the Pasay city authorities.

Eigil Sorensen, an adviser to the WHO, said the government of the Philippines was a signatory to the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which bans tobacco advertising and promotion. “It’s important there is no official endorsement by the government of the tobacco event,” Mr Sorensen told the AFP. “If there is a government endorsement, it might be seen as a mixed signal.”

The Philippines has one of the highest smoking rates in Asia and some of the lowest prices for cigarettes. About 14 per cent of its 100 million-strong population smokes and there are said to be 10 smoking-related deaths an hour. The country is home to several major cigarette and cigar manufacturers, including PMFTC Inc, owned by Philip Morris International Inc. In 2010 it bought the local Fortune Tobacco company.

Mr Sorensen said the government had overseen efforts to reduce smoking among the young – a move that had seen the numbers of Filipino youths who smoke fall from two out of 10 in 2007 to one in 10 today. Last year, the authorities passed new legislation that substantially raised the tax on cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, with the money going towards a new health care programme. Yet smoking among the young remains a major problem.

The Associated Press reported that the authorities in Pasay had waived a ban on indoor smoking at the venue. Meanwhile, the media was barred from the event and anti-smoking protesters held a rally outside.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee