Skip to content ↓
Press Room

Eight Provinces Across the Philippines Launch Campaign To Warn Smokers About Tar in Cigarettes

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(Manila, Philippines and New York, USA) – Eight provinces across the Philippines today re-launched a campaign to warn people about the harms of tar in cigarettes. The ad, developed by the Department of Health with support from University of the Philippines and World Lung Foundation, graphically depicts the tar that collects inside an average smoker’s lungs. The campaign, called ‘Sponge,’ will air on TV, radio and outdoor venues for a minimum of four weeks, with some provinces sustaining the campaign for longer.

The eight provinces airing ‘Sponge,’ are: Misamis Occidental, Capiz, Oriental Mindoro, Agusan del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya, Biliran, Negros Oriental and Southern Leyte. The campaign, which was tested rigorously among focus groups in 2008, has aired in more than 10 countries. The Filipino version aims to inform cigarette smokers about the serious impact tobacco has on their health, and to motivate them to quit before they become sick.Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds in the form of hot gases and millions of tiny particles (also known as aerosols). Tar is the common name and an acronym (Total Aerosol Residue ) for all of those particles. Each particle in tar is composed of a variety of chemical compounds, many of which are known to cause cancer and other deadly diseases.

Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial of the Department of Health said, “Our government is committed to reducing the toll tobacco takes on health in our community. This campaign uses a scientific approach to deliver a clear message about the poisonous chemicals in cigarettes.”

Research has shown that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to encourage people to stop smoking. It is one of the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.

Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy and Communications, World Lung Foundation said, “It takes more than one campaign to correct decades of misinformation about the harms of tobacco. It is commendable that these eight provinces recognize this reality and are stepping forward to reinforce the message that deadly tar from tobacco smoke collects in smokers’ lungs and causes terrible diseases.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year – one in ten preventable deaths worldwide. In the Philippines, 17.3 million adults currently smoke (28.3 percent) and 54.4 percent of adults are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home in the past month.

The ‘Sponge’ TV, radio and print materials are available upon request.