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Young smokers gave the price of 5 pesos per stick, UP students clarify

29 September 2011
From HealthJustice Philippines
Young smokers gave the price of 5 pesos per stick, UP students clarify

Responding to recent reports attributing to HealthJustice Philippines the proposal to increase cigarette price to 5 pesos per stick so young people will quit smoking, the University of the Philippines Communication Research Society (UP-CommResSoc), the student organization that conducted the survey, clarified that young respondents were the ones who indicated 5 pesos per stick as the price that will make them stop buying cigarettes.

“We asked them, ‘Magkano ang halaga ng sigarilyo per stick na magpapatigil sa iyo sa pagbili ng sigarilyo? (How much is the cigarette price per stick that will make you stop buying cigarettes?), and a majority of them said 5 pesos or higher,” explains UP-CRS spokesperson Princess Ubongen, a fourth year student at the UP College of Mass Communication, speaking in behalf of the 45 UP students who conducted the survey.

“We have been trained in getting the trust of respondents whenever we have to conduct research on a sensitive topic,” Ubongen says. “Most of the respondents felt comfortable towards the topic and willingly referred us to their friends who also smoke,” she adds.

Early this month, UP-CommResSoc conducted a quick survey for HealthJustice Philippines. The respondents were students who are currently smoking and located in the eight most populated public high schools in Quezon City. Survey results show that 71 percent of the 435 respondents will quit smoking if the price of a cigarette stick will cost 5 pesos or more.  Almost 90 percent of the respondents buy the high-priced brands currently priced at P32 per pack. On consumption per month, 28 percent say they smoke 1 to 3 packs, 33.7 percent between 3 to 10 packs, and 20 percent, more than 10 packs. Almost half of the survey respondents were 15 to 16 years old, 25 percent were 13 to 14 years old and 23 percent were 17 to 18 years old.

UP CommResSoc conceptualized and conducted the research with the guidance of their adviser who is a professor in the field of Communication Research in UP.

Ubongen makes it clear that UP-CommResSoc does not have an official stand on the issue of tobacco taxes. Asked why they agreed to conduct the research, Ubongen says “The study is socially relevant”. This is in line with one of their organization’s values, which is social responsibility, and they believe they can contribute well in this endeavor.

“We tried to make the study as objective as possible by following standard protocols and procedures to ensure its objectivity,” Ubongen concludes.


Maria Carolina Bello
HealthJustice Philippines
Mobile: 09175795632
Email: healthjusticepr@gmail.com