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20 percent of Metro heart attacks due to passive smoke

Posted on: October 28, 2009

20 percent of Metro heart attacks due to passive smoke

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 13:16:00 10/26/2009

Filed Under: Diseases, Health

MANILA, Philippines—Second-hand smoke causes over 20 percent of the number of heart attacks in Metro Manila, officials from the Department of Health (DoH) said on Monday.

One to seven hours of weekly exposure to second-hand smoke increases the number of heart attacks or acute myocardial infarction by 10 percent and a weekly exposure of 21 hours in turn raises the number of heart attacks by 20 percent, said DoH Secretary Francisco Duque III quoting an international study.

The study from the World Lung Foundation and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) also found that over 50 percent of Filipinos in Manila are exposed to second-hand smoke daily—meaning there is a high likelihood of regular exposure to passive smoking, said Duque.

The health secretary added heart attacks and circulatory systems diseases—the top two killer diseases in 2005 which caused over 130,000 deaths—are caused by exposure to second-hand smoking, a scenario that can be prevented if tobacco control ordinances are implemented and followed nationwide.

Globally, over five million people die from tobacco smoke-related illnesses, with 13,000 to 18,000 of these from the Philippines, said Bloomberg Philanthropies representative Kelly Larson.

The Union representative Bill Bellew said the proper implementation of ordinances on tobacco control in over 10 countries were in place, a reduction of 17 percent to 50 percent in the number of heart attacks was noted.

In line with this, The Union and Bloomberg Philanthropies gave DoH a grant of $745,000 to launch a program to intensify the ban against smoking and the implementation of Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 through information campaigns and strict implementation of tobacco control ordinances, said Duque.

Bellew added a grant of $450,000 will be given to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) to promote educational programs against smoking.

Dr. Maricar Limpin, FCAP executive director, said FCAP will complement the initiatives of DoH by focusing on campaigns against smoking advertisements and amendments on “inadequate provisions” of the Tobacco Regulation Act to put graphic health warnings on half of cigarette packs, instead of text-based warnings that only occupy less than 30 percent of the pack.

Through the grant, DoH will assist 12 local government units as pilot areas to become smoke-free over the next two years, specifically Nueva Vizcaya, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Capiz, Negros Oriental, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Western Samar, Misamis Occidental, North and South Cotabato, and Agusan Del Sur, said Duque.

For its part, Larson said DoH can adopt its tobacco control initiative following a six-point MPOWER program against smoking of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which include monitoring of tobacco policy implementation, protecting people from smoking, offering ways to prevent smoking, warning people from tobacco use and illnesses, enforcing ban on advertisements, and raising tax on tobacco products.


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