March 20, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – A group of cancer survivors today appealed to the faithful to consider abstaining from smoking cigarettes during the Holy Week.
In a statement, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president Emer Rojas said the Holy Week would be a good opportunity to refrain from the deadly vice since the season calls for making sacrifices.
“If you are to make any sacrifices this Holy Week, why not do something that will be beneficial to your own health and that of your loved ones,” said Rojas, who is a throat cancer survivor that could only speak via a handheld electronic device, which replaced the functions of his vocal cords.
“Here is your chance to quit smoking now,” he added.
During the Holy Week, Catholics are expected to practice fasting and abstinence or the practice of self-restraint of individuals over things they usually find hard to live without.
Rojas noted that the long holiday brought by the Holy Week will give families more time to spend with each other, including adults with their young children.
This, he said, could mean that smoking parents and other adults could inadvertently share second-hand smoke to their children and place their health at a risk.
“In consideration to your loved ones, including children, who may be exposed to second-hand smoke, we are hoping that cigarette smokers will spare the event from the harms of smoking,” said Rojas.
Aside from family members, he said smoking should also be avoided when observing the traditional Holy Week traditions of Filipinos, especially the Visita Iglesia since smoking in churches is strictly prohibited.
According to the World Health Organization, more than one-third of all people worldwide are regularly exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and is responsible for about 600,000 deaths per year.
In the Philippines, some 10 Filipinos die every hour or a total of 87,000 every year due to smoking-related illnesses.
Among the most common smoking-related diseases are cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, and stroke.