US anti-tobacco advocate: Expensive cigs will cut smoking in PHL
The Philippines should make cigarette smoking an expensive habit, because it is an effective approach to lessening tobacco addiction among Filipinos, an Amercian anti-tobacco advocate said on Wednesday
“Taxes are the single most effective way to reduce cigarette smoking,” Richard A. Daynard, Law professor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts noted in a symposium held at the UP College of Law on Wednesday.
The professor, who became famous for winning a $17.8-million lawsuit against Philip Morris International (PMI), flew to the Philippines to help strengthen the campaign for a sin tax bill, which will be discussed in the first committee hearing at the Senate on Thursday.
The US was able to reduce its smokers by 4 percent, said Daynard who is president of the Northeastern University Public Health Advocacy Institute.
“A study conducted by the University of the Philippines noted twice as much,” said Daynard, referring to the percentage of Filipinos who would likely quit smoking once the sin tax bill is passed. “Filipinos are said to be more responsive to price increases,” he added.
“Philip Morris is proud with what they did here in the Philippines,” the professor claimed. “The tax rate is still based on a retail price in 1996."
Daynard said Philip Morris has been using the same argument to halt or delay legislature of the sin tax bill.
“Philip Morris has been telling the Treasury to look at the amount they’re about to lose,” the professor alleged. “But duh? That’s the whole plan,” he noted.
“These people will say anything to sell their cigarettes,” Daynard alleged.
GMA News Online contacted Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco to get the company’s side on the matter, but was told that they will issue a statement on the matter. — VS, GMA News
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