FCAP Condemns the International Tobacco Expo in Manila

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) today condemns the staging of the global tobacco exposition dubbed as the Protobex Asia/Intertabac Asia 2013, saying it is an ‘outright disrespect’ of Philippine laws as it is held for the second consecutive year in Manila.

“The tobacco industry not only continuously undermines government’s tobacco control efforts but also blatantly disregard our rules, particularly Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Smoke-Free Memorandum, by allowing indoor smoking, which we all know is very dangerous to one’s health,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, FCAP Executive Director.

Organizers say they chose the Philippines over other locations in Asia because of its vibrant and phenomenal tobacco industry and the support of the local government of Pasay, which has issued a waiver allowing indoor smoking at the venue.

“By staging this tobacco expo, not only once but twice, sends a wrong signal that we allow these tobacco companies to promote their harmful products and in effect belittle our own set of principles when it comes to tobacco control. This expo should not be tolerated by our country as it only seeks to expand product choices through new strategies which targets our women and youth,” Dr. Limpin added.

The country has an estimated 17 million smoker and an average of 10 tobacco-related deaths every hour from diseases such as cancer and emphysema. In the ASEAN region, the Philippines also has the highest female smoking prevalence rate.

“With these alarming figures, it is high time for the government, both in the national and the local levels, to reaffirm its commitment of prioritizing the health of the Filipinos over any and all commercial interests,” said Dr. Limpin.

The Philippines is a signatory of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which provides that there is a ‘fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health.’