Health and Fitness

"Yosi Kadiri" Campaign Makes a Comeback

The government revives "Yosi Kadiri," the iconic anti-smoking campaign of the '90s.
IMAGE UNSPLASH/FACEBOOK Department of Health (Philippines)
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One of the government's most iconic campaigns of all time was the Department of Health's Yosi Kadiri ads in the '90s. In those ads, the government sought to discourage smoking by casting it as a social taboo. Yosi Kadiri was a cigarette mascot that represented smokers and the bad effects of smoking. The commercials depicted the mascot being ostracized and rejected by the public because it stank and was unhealthy.

The campaign was only effective to some degree because of the massive counter-campaigns that tobacco manufacturers also ran during that time.

This time around, the government's anti-smoking campaign could be more effective. Senator Manny Pacquiao is part of the new Yosi Kadiri commercial, which depicts him beating up the mascot in a boxing match. The government is also aiming to significantly increase taxes on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

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In a press conference on May 17, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Finance (DoF) unveiled the move to revive the campaign while also pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1599 in Congress. The bill seeks to enhance the Sin Tax Reform Law by increasing taxes for tobacco and liquor.

"There are three session weeks left after the elections. We urge both Houses to give due priority to these reforms," said Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Dominguez pointed out that if the bill is not passed, the DoF and the DOH will not be able to sustain the Universal Health Care Act.

"The Universal Health Care is designed to be funded by the sin taxes. If Senate Bill 1599 is not passed, then we cannot fully implement program. There will be gaps, and gaps mean some people will not be served," he said.

Among the gaps Dominguez was referring to is what would be a P62-billion shortage in the Universal Health Care's approximate P258-billion implementation cost on its first year of implementation. Some P195 billion of its funding would come from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Philippine Gaming Corporation, the Department of Health budget, and government subsidies.

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If passed, the bill would see an additional P60 price increase for every pack of cigarettes, and another P40 for every liter of alcoholic beverage.

The Sin Tax Reform Law is a hallmark legislative victory of the Aquino administration. It helps finance the government's Universal Health Care program. In 2018, excise tax from alcoholic beverages alone generated P49.256 billion in government revenue, which is 15.22 percent higher than the revenue it generated in 2017.

Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption in the Philippines

According to a 2014 study by the World Health Organization, Filipinos consume more spirits (whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila) than beer. Spirits make up 72 percent of Filipinos' alcohol consumption per capita, while beer makes up 27 percent.

Meanwhile, in a 2017 report by the World Bank, the Philippines ranked 9th in Asia in terms of the volume of alcohol consumed per person. According to the report, Filipinos over the age of 15 drink drink 5.6 liters of alohol a year. At the top of the list is South Korea, with a per capita alcohol consumption of 10.9 liters of alcohol per year.

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The Philippines saw a significant reduction in tobacco use of 20 percent from 2009 to 2015, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey. Tobacco consumption in the Philippines in 2015 had a prevalence of 23 percent, which was still slightly higher than the global average of 20 percent.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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