By: Rodrigo S. Victoria

NAVAL, Biliran – The provincial health office in Biliran province launched a new anti-smoking campaign that would raise more public awareness on the ill-effects of tobacco smoking to one’s health.

Vanessa Veloso, health education and promotion officer, Biliran Provincial Health Office (BPHO) said in a press statement that the province of Biliran launched a new tobacco control campaign to warn Biliranons on the dangers of tobacco use.

Department of Health (DOH) revealed in a recent press release that 240 Filipinos die everyday from tobacco-related illnesses in the Philippines. Smoking prevalence in the country is among the highest in the world; consequently, cigarette prices here are among the lowest in the world.

The launching of the new health campaign is in line with the celebration of the no smoking month in June, Veloso added.

“This new media campaign called “Sponge” developed by the DOH with support from University of the Philippines- Los Banos, World Lung Foundation and the provincial local government unit of Biliran, graphically depicts the amount of tar that is collected inside an average smoker’s lungs.” she said.

It was learned that the original Sponge advertisement that was aired in Sydney in the early 1980s as part of the ‘Quit. For Life’ campaign featured a cardboard cut-out of a male figure with a sponge placed on the chest area to represent human lungs. It portrays lungs as sponges designed to soak up air and show how, for smokers, they soak up smoke and ends with the memorable image of cancer-producing tar being squeezed from a discolored sponge into a rapidly filling beaker.

It was further learned that Sponge campaign was proven to be a highly successful campaign in Sydney where a recall rate of 87% among smokers was recorded when it was first run in was also associated with a 3.4% decrease in smoking prevalence in Sydney during the first six months of the campaign.

The new anti-smoking campaign will be aired in local cable televisions and radio stations and will be shown in identified public places in the province of Biliran for the whole month of June this year, she further said. (rvictoria/PIA 8 Biliran)


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