To discourage Filipinos from smoking, the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday urged a ban on the selling of cigarettes per stick.
According to a report by Maki Pulido on GMA News' 24 Oras on Tuesday, the ban was in compliance of the recommendation of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases.
"Sa mga ibang bansa ginawa na yan. Talagang bawal bumili ng tingi-tingi kundi dapat isang pakete kasi nga mas mahal ito at mas mahirap pa bilhin ng mga bata," DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo said.
The department is also looking to increase the age requirement for cigarette smoking, selling or buying to 21 years old from 18 years old, noting that cigarette users among the youth are increasing.
Results of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey of 2015 showed that 12 percent of students aged 13 to 15 years are already smokers with 17.6 percent of the number as males and 7.0 percent as females.
This was in spite of anti-smoking measures such as the Tobacco Regulation Act, which prohibits the selling of cigarettes to minors or the selling of cigarettes near schools, and the nationwide smoking ban order.
Although taxes on cigarettes were increased in 2012, there are still many smokers among the adult population. The smoking prevalence in 2018 only decreased to 23-24 percent from 28 percent in 2012, according to the DOH.
Sidewalk vendor Mariel Avila said she was worried about the proposal to ban the single stick sale.
"P40 po ang tubo namin sa isang kaha, bebenta namin ng 7. Konti lang naman ang bumibili ng per pack ko, kasi mahal nga," Avila said. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News