by Karlo P. Porto
Cigarette smoking significantly affects the lives of may Filipinos whether directly or indirectly. In fact, dating back to 2009, based on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), the Philippines has an estimated 17.3 milion tobacco consumers. Filipinos, on average, consume 1,073 cigarette sticks annually. This large number of tobacco consumers encouraged the Congress in 2012 to pass Republic Act (RA) No. 10351, commonly existing taxes imposed on alcohol and tobacco products.
The Philippine government saw the duties on these products to fund the Universal Heatlh Care Program of the government. Likewise, higher taxes and consequently higher cost are seen as a deterent to the consumption of "sinful" products, whose adverse effects are mostly borne by the marginalized segments of society.