The number of smokers in the country has decreased by 1.1 million, from 17 million in 2009 to 15.9 million in 2015, the Department of Health said on Monday, citing survey results.
According to the 2015 Philippines’ Global Adult Survey (GATS), the prevalence of tobacco use among Filipinos 15 years and above dropped from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 23.8 percent in 2015.
“One million Filipinos have quit tobacco use — the biggest decline we have seen in Philippine history, and we can do more to stop the suffering caused by this epidemic,” Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said.
The reduction means that at least a million Filipinos now have a lower risk of developing cancer, heart ailments, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The number of victims of second-hand smoke at home also has dropped significantly from 54 percent in 2009 to 34 percent in 2015; and in the workplace from 32 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2015.
The survey however revealed that exposure to second-hand smoke remains high at 86 percent in bars and nightclubs; and at 33.6 percent in restaurants.