The Philippines has achieved significant progress in terms of reducing its smoking population after more than a million individuals decided to finally kick the habit.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) country representative, Dr. Gundo Weiler, this shows how the country’s anti-smoking programs since 2009 produced a big impact, the Manila Bulletin reports.
“The decrease in tobacco use that we’ve seen here in the Philippines for the last years is truly remarkable, also from a global perspective,” he said.
Based on data from the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the country’s 17 million smoking population in 2009 dropped to 15.9 million in 2015.
Weiler also hailed a handful of government programs for the feat.
These include the Tobacco Reform Law in 2012, the plastering of Graphic Health Warning in all cigarette packs and the collective effort of local governments to curb smoking in their areas.
This development comes after Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial recently stated that it was only a matter of time before President Rodrigo Duterte signs an Executive Order that enforces a nationwide smoking ban similar to what Davao City currently has in place.
Smoking kills nearly 100,000 Filipinos each year due to various respiratory complications and other illnesses.