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New anti-smoking laws called

By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Apr. 01, 2013 at 12:01am
Public health advocates called on government on Sunday to impose tough anti-smoking regulations in the country, citing recent findings that mothers who breathe secondhand smoke were likely to have children with behavioral problems.

Diana Trivinio, project manager of NGO Health Justice, said new study showed that 25 percent of children of 646 passive-smoking mothers developed speech and language skills, intelligence and conduct disorders.

“We need 100 percent smoke-free environments to be able to effectively protect our people from second-hand smoke. This is particularly important for the Philippines, which is among the top 20 smoking nations in the world,” Trivinio said.

A study conducted in China by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing on 646 mother and child pairs exposed to second-hand smoke showed 25 percent of the children developed behavioral problems. In contrast, only 16 percent of children of unexposed mothers developed similar problems.

The children of exposed mothers also demonstrated poor performance in tests on speech and language skills and showed intelligence and conduct disorders. Reduced flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus as a result of second-hand smoke altered brain growth and development during pregnancy, according to researchers.

Trevinio said the government should educate and warn people about the dangers of smoking on public health by requiring cigarette manufacturers to carry “picture warnings” on cigarette packs.

She said the “picture warnings” will help the youth realize the dangers of smoking and stop them from developing the dangerous habit, and even encourage smokers to quit.

Emer Rojas, a cancer survivor and President of New Vois Association of the Philippines, said graphic health warnings on cigarette packs should be implemented immediately because of the danger that smoking pose to public health.

“As a former smoker, who almost died because of smoking, I will never stop campaigning so that people won’t experience what I went through because of my smoking,” Rojas said.

Public health advocates want government to require manufacturers to carry more vivid warnings on cigarette packs than the bold letters that says, “Government warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to the health.”
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