MANILA -- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday the approval of a bill raising the tobacco excise tax would save the lives of 200,000 Filipinos from the ill effects of smoking.
"We are one step closer to enacting this bill that seeks higher tobacco excise taxes into law. On behalf of the Department of Health (DOH), I extend my gratitude to the Department of Finance led by Secretary Sonny Dominguez and our legislators at both houses of Congress for fighting with us to protect the health of every Juan and Juana," Duque said in a statement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) put at 7 million the annual number of deaths worldwide from tobacco use. About 260,000 of these cases are child deaths caused by inhalation of secondhand smoke.
Duque said the approved bill would decrease smoking prevalence to 20 percent by 2023 and would help fill the PHP40 billion funding gap for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law, which ensures comprehensive quality and affordable health care for all Filipinos.