In a recent announcement, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Senator Pia Cayetano and four other prominent public health champions from the Western Pacific Region for their outstanding contributions to tobacco control.
These individuals have been acknowledged for their relentless advocacy, championing laws, programs, and projects aimed at combatting smoking, vapes, and heated tobacco products.
The Department of Health has confirmed that Senator Cayetano was specifically recognized for her unwavering commitment to promoting the global campaign against tobacco.
Each year, WHO acknowledges individuals and organizations from various regions for their crucial role in tobacco control, presenting them with the prestigious WHO Director-General Special Recognition and World No Tobacco Day awards.
According to a news release by the WHO, Senator Cayetano has been a long-standing leader and advocate for strengthening tobacco control efforts in the Philippines. Her notable work focuses on preserving the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration and addressing the affordability and accessibility of tobacco products, particularly among youths.
One of Senator Cayetano’s notable accomplishments was sponsoring the Graphic Health Warning bill, which became Republic Act 10643 when signed into law in 2014. She also played a significant role in pushing for the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10351), which aims to generate additional revenues for healthcare while curbing harmful vices, especially among the youth.
As the world prepares to observe World No Tobacco Day on Wednesday, the theme “Grow food, not tobacco” will take center stage. The campaign aims to encourage governments to discontinue tobacco growing subsidies and redirect the savings to support farmers in transitioning to more sustainable crops that enhance food security and nutrition.
This year’s campaign will raise awareness among tobacco farming communities about the benefits of shifting away from tobacco cultivation and embracing sustainable crop alternatives.
It will also emphasize the importance of combating desertification and environmental degradation by reducing tobacco farming practices. Additionally, the campaign aims to shed light on industry efforts aimed at impeding sustainable livelihoods.