Noynoy Aquino's Leadership By Example: Poster Boy for Cigarette Smoking
Speaking of leadership by example, Noynoy is pulling all the stops… on how not to lead. Aquino’s actions remind me of an old sign in Shakey’s Pizza – “quit complaining about the service, there’s none”. In this case, do not question Noynoy Aquino’s leadership – at worst, there’s none. At best, he leads in the trivial and irrelevant.
Consider for example, the issue of smoking. A World Health Organization (WHO) study on people who are smoking discovered an alarming trend – Almost 80,000 to 100,000 of children started smoking at a very young age, and they have the possibility of dying early because of smoking.
The study pointed out that:
* About one third of the male population in the world smokes.
* Every eight seconds, someone dies because of smoking-related diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and heart diseases.
* There is also an alarming increase in the number of smokers in developing countries like the Philippines as compared to developed countries like the United States of America.
* Among the teens, ages thirteen to fifteen, about one out of five smokes. Evidences in statistics show that half of those young teens who started smoking go on to smoke for the next 15 to 20 years of their lives. A large number that contributes to this percentage come from Asian Countries.
A more recent report by Medical News Today describes the public hazards of smoking:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco consumption is one of the largest public health hazards the world has ever had to confront. Over 5 million people each year are killed, an average of 1 human every 6 seconds, the WHO says. Tobacco accounts for 1 in every 10 adult deaths. WHO informs that up to 50% of current users of tobacco products will eventually die of a tobacco-linked disease.
More than four-firths of the 1 billion regular smokers on this planet live in low- and middle-income countries. It is in these countries where the burden of tobacco-linked diseases and death is heaviest.
The WHO says that tobacco users die early and:
* Deprive their families of income
* Raise the cost of health care
* Hinder economic development
In some parts of the world children at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale are commonly employed in tobacco farming to provide family income, making them especially vulnerable to green tobacco sickness. Green tobacco sickness is caused by the absorption of nicotine through the skin from handling wet tobacco leaves.
According to Cancer Research UK and the American Cancer Society:
* Smoking causes:
o Cancer – such as cancer of the lung, larynx (voice box), oral cavity (mouth, tongue and lips), pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder and acute myeloid leukemia. Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths in the USA. It is responsible for almost 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths in the USA.
o Heart and cardiovascular diseases
o Chronic lung diseases
* Smoking kills at least 120,000 people in the UK annually
* Smoking is the single most preventable cause of early death in the world
* Passive smoking (breathing in second hand smoke) is responsible for several hundred deaths annually in the UK. Passive smoking is particularly harmful to babies and children whose parents smoke in the home. Passive smoking (as well as active smoking) may also cause miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, cot death, ‘glue’ ear, asthma and other respiratory problems.
* Smoking can raise a woman’s risk of infertility
* Smoking has also been linked to a greater risk of gum disease, cataracts, bone thinning, hip fractures and peptic ulcers.
* Erectile dysfunction – several studies have linked regular smoking to male sexual impotence (problems getting and/or maintaining an erection)
Sources: WHO, Cancer Research UK, American Cancer Society
Clearly, anything which deprives families of income, raises the cost of health care, causes green tobacco sickness and hinders economic development is a cause for concern. Given the extent of this epidemic, we need leaders and role models that can mobilize the nation against the cigarette smoking.
Unfortunately, Filipinos cannot count on Noynoy Aquino to lead the charge against smoking.
By Maila Ager
First Posted 16:23:00 06/01/2010
Filed Under: Health
MANILA, Philippines – “I’m sorry, I will not dance to everybody’s tune every time,” so said President apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on persistent calls for him to quit smoking.
Aquino said he should be embarrassed to his supporters if he would allow himself to be dictated upon on these simple things, like smoking.
“Marami na ho akong sina-sacrifice. Baka yung humihingi sa akin na mag sacrifice e wala pa naisa-sacrifice baka gusto nilang sumali sa sacrifice [I have made a lot of sacrifices. Maybe those who are asking me to sacrifice, have not sacrificed anything. Maybe they want to join me],” Aquino said in an interview with reporters in his home on Times Street in Quezon City.
“I’m being tested as to my fortitude in whatever my decision is. And I’m sorry, I will not dance to everybody’s tunes every time,” he said.
“Kung kaya akong tulakin sa maliit na bagay yan, kaya akong tulakin sa mas malaki. At pag ganun papatulan mo, wala akong desisyon, mahiya naman ako sa mga sumuporta sa akin [If I can be pushed in small things, I can be pushed in bigger things. And if you will allow this, I have no decision, it’s embarrassing to my supporters],” he further said.
Aquino has been firm in not giving up his smoking as he makes sure that he would not bother anyone with his habit.
And to those who have been warning him about the danger of smoking, Aquino said that he was still fit to lead this country.
“Nakita naman nyo kung ano yung pace ng kampanya. Mayroon bang makatulad ng kampanyang yun sa mga katunggali ko [You’ve seen the pace of the campaign. Is there anyone from my opponents who can match that pace]?” Aquino asked.
“Actually, kung maghamunan kaya tayo ng kapitan ng sticker sa isang kanto, magubos tayo ng tig isang 100 sticker? Sino kaya ang tatagal sa gitna ng araw [if we challenge each other to post stickers at the corner, let’s post 100 stickers each. Who will last in the middle of this weather]?” he further said.
This issue is larger than life because as President, Noynoy becomes a role model to the youth.
Noynoy’s reply that no one will be bothered by his smoking is plain BULLSH*T. I presume he was saying that he will not be hurting anyone because he will smoke in solitude to prevent other people from inhaling second hand smoke, thereby not harming others. Actually, consumption is just the last stage in a process that starts from the tobacco plantations, to the factories, to retail stores, and to the end-user. Has Noynoy considered that a kid (child labor anyone?) somewhere caught green tobaco sickness just so that Noynoy can take a whiff of the toxic fumes? Or that his cigarette butts are environmental pollutants as well.
Noynoy’s comments on smoking were so juvenile prompting a WHO top officer to tag Noynoy as a “bad model”.
By Rommel C. Lontayao Reporter
For publicly declaring that he is not yet ready to quit smoking, apparent president-elect Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd is as a bad role model to young people in the Philippines, a health officer of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
“It seems that Mr. Aquino is aware that he is not only damaging his own health but is setting a poor example to his fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen,” said Dr. Susan Mercado, the regional adviser for the Tobacco-Free Initiative of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office.
Mercado, who completed her training as a tobacco dependence treatment specialist with the famed Mayo Clinic in the United States, made the statement a few days before the observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
“Noynoy Aquino is a smoker like 17 million other Filipinos. Like others who were born in the 1960s, he grew up in an environment where smoking was the norm—even among role models like priests, doctors, businessmen, scientists, scholars, actors, athletes,” she said.
Health groups have called on Aquino to quit smoking.
But on Monday he said he is not t ready to kick the habit because of the various pressures of becoming the country’s next president.
His refusal to quite smoking, Mercado said, is not something that young Filipinos must imitate.
She added Aquino might just be representing a portion of the population whose health has not been spared by tobacco use and exposure to cigarette smoke.
“The Aquino family was not spared from this—[Sen.] Ninoy Aquino suffered a heart attack. [Former President] Cory [Corazon] Aquino had colorectal cancer. Both of these conditions have been linked to cigarette smoke exposure,” Mercado said.
Filipinos hard hit
Based on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in 2009, 49 percent of Filipinos report that smoking is allowed inside their homes. More than 50 percent of youth 13 to 15 years old also report that they are exposed to cigarette smoke at home daily.
“Filipinos endure multiple daily exposures to tobacco smoke in public transportation, restaurants, malls and even health facilities,” Mercado said, adding that smoking kills 10 Filipinos every hour.
With the coming into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2005, anti-smoking programs have changed dramatically. In the past, smoking and quitting were left to the individual smoker. Today, because of the WHO FCTC, it is also the government’s responsibility and mandate to control tobacco use.
Mercado said that there is a huge unfinished agenda for the Philippine government to comply with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“This agenda includes raising prices and taxes of cigarettes, requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, strictly enforcing 100-percent ban on indoor smoking in public places, preventing single cigarette stick sale, banning point of sale advertising, preventing the influence and lobby of the tobacco industry in policy-making, legislation and enforcement, protecting all citizens from exposure to second hand smoke and last but not least, ensuring that every smoker, like Sen. Noynoy Aquino has scientific information, the best available services and respect for a patient’s right to privacy,” she added.
The WHO also on Thursday called on countries to protect women and girls from efforts by the tobacco industry to induce them to start smoking.
Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, warned that smoking and chewing of tobacco among females is increasing in Asia and the Pacific.
It is estimated that more than 8 percent of girls between 13 and 15 years of age, or around 4.5 million girls, are using tobacco products.
“Starting early results in addiction that later translates to a life of nicotine dependence, poor health and premature death,” he said.
Shin added that comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are needed to protect women and girls from deceptive messages that portray smoking as glamorous or fashionable.
Worldwide, of the more than 600,000 deaths caused every year by second hand smoke, 64 percent occur among women.
The only positive thing I can think about Noynoy’s smoking (and even then, it’s a stretch) is to encourage Noynoy to smoke some more so he can die early and not finish his term – by golly he’ll do this nation a great service – one less pasaway.
As to Aquino’s comment that he’ll be seen as a pushover if succumbs to the pressure to stop smoking – taking sound medical advice that’s based on mounds of evidence isn’t being a pushover – that’s being smart. Not taking good medical advice is being a pushover to one’s vice. Ika nga ng tropang “Lost Boys” – mind over matter noy, wag padala sa tama ng yosi. Kicking the smoking habit isn’t a sacrifice and is not being a pushover – it simply is the right and decent thing to do.
On the 100 stickers challenge, big deal – one hundred only? How about working the fields of Hacienda Luisita, in this kind of weather – – let Noynoy judge for himself how fit he really is!!!
Which brings another point – if Noynoy can’t even lead himself to stop smoking – what chance does he have to lead others effectively? Thanks to mommy and daddy, we have a President-elect in denial voted into power by an electorate equally in denial.
Filipinos truly deserve their government – six years of Noynoy Aquino, I wouldn’t wish that kind of punishment even on my worst enemy.