By Marielle Dianne S. Misula
MANILA – To put a stop to smoking and the damage of its effects, the revival of Yosi Kadiri Campaign is now underway.
The DOH has the youth as their target audience as the 2009 release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey results reveal that among adults 15 years or older, 28.3% or 17.3 million Filipinos are current tobacco smokers. Meanwhile, the average age of initiation of cigarette smoking among ever daily smokers aged 18-34 was 17.4 for men and 19.1 for women.
Producing campaign materials
Health Education and Promotion Officer IV Anthony Roda revealed that this year, the Department of Health (DOH) has allocated PhP 25 million for producing mascots and information materials.
“Para sa tobacco industry, ang mga current smokers na adults ay patay na. Ang market (nila) ay the young generation… The Department of Health, iyon din ang focus, kung doon tumitira ang tobacco industry, doon din namin titirahin, para naman yung youth wag manigarilyo, (For the tobacco industry, the current smokers who are adults are already dead. Their market now is the young generation… That’s also our focus in the DOH. If that’s the tobacco industry’s target, that’s what we’ll target as well so the youth will no longer smoke), ” Roda reasoned.
The campaign already started in the early 90’s during the term of former undersecretary Juan Flavier. According to Roda, it was the response to the public perception of smoking as “cool, fashionable, passionate and sexy”.
“Ang Yosi Kadiri, (ang ipinapakita noon ay) hindi ka sexy, mabaho ung hininga mo, mabaho kang tingnan, yung hitsura mo eh tatanda ka… May threat sa tobacco industry yung campaign. Nag-stick sa mind ng youth yung campaign. (The Yosi Kadiri campaign shows that you won’t look sexy; instead your breath will smell and you’ll look dirty, and you’ll also look old. The campaign poses a threat against the tobacco industry.)Because of (its) success, there’s a clamor to revive the campaign,” Roda explained.
According to the Alternate Focal Person of Tobacco Control Program Director Dr. Franklin Diza, It was so effective the Tobacco manufacturers pressured the TV stations airing the campaign to pull out their ads from them, thus weakening the campaign until it was ceased airing in early 2000.
But with the promulgation of R.A. No. 9211, known as the Tobacco regulation Act of 2003, he assures that it would be easier for the Department to re-launch the campaign.
“Ngayon, may batas na at bawal ang advertising, promotion at sponsorship, pwede na naming i-revive yun (Now there’s a law and (cigarette) advertising is banned. The promotion and sponsorship, we can revive those),” Diza added.
However, the DOH cannot control the universities if they won’t comply with the ban.
“DOH has no power over the universities. DOH is advocating the implementation of the law. We are partnering with those agencies (Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education) every now and then… We make policies (and) we make sure that the public health laws are implemented,“ Roda explained.
Their role is to only advocate the smoking ban and educate the people of its adverse effects, health-wise.
Diza enumerated the illnesses such as stroke, all kinds of cancer, pulmonary diseases and heart complications as the main consequences of smoking.
Impeding the strict implementation
DOH claims that there are already loopholes upon the constitution of the R.A. 9211. According to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the tobacco industry should not be included in the law-making. However, it was and the Department of Trade and Industry rather spearheaded the making of the law, instead of DOH.
“Dapat walang interference ang tobacco industry sa pag-craft ng policy (The tobacco industry should not interfere in the crafting of the policy),” said Roda.
Diza also sees the poor implementation of laws as a primary problem of realizing the smoking ban.
“I-advocate natin ung strict implementation ng batas, Malaki ang katungkulan ng local government units sa implementation, they can have a local legislation and ordinances. Himukin (natin)ang LGU to do its part (We will advocate the strict implementation of the law. The Local Government Unit plays a large role in its implementation (because) they have a local legislation and ordinances. Let’s try to persuade the LGU to do its part),” Diza explained.
Pushed through. Despite the loopholes, Diza is confident that R.A. No. 9211 will help DOH revive the Yosi Kadiri Campaign.