Smoke-Free advocates in Benguet are concerned with the availability of candies mimicking cigarette
sticks and branding in sari-sari stores, especially those that are near the schools. As this developed, the
advocacy group asked all the municipalities of Benguet and even other provinces of Cordillera to review, create or amend policy following Framework Convention on Tobacco Control FCTC compliant Smoke-Free
Ordinance that fully protects the welfare of its constituents especially the children against the ill effects of tobacco.
Smoke-Free Benguet and other health advocates believe that the prohibition of these candies will help in the reduction of tobacco use among Filipino children and youth. The WHO-FCTC measure restricts the sale of tobacco products to minors prohibiting the manufacture and sale of sweets, snacks, toys, or any
other objects in the form of tobacco products that appeal to minors.
The advocacy group also urged local officials of Benguet and Cordillera region to create a Smoke-Free Task Force that will ensure the implementation of the ordinance and that parents should also be part of this Task Force. One prohibited act in the World Health Organization-FCTC compliant local Smoke-Free ordinances is the selling sweets, snacks, toys, or other objects in the form of tobacco products that may appeal to minors.
A case in point, a recent a trending post from a concerned person in Bauko, Mt. Province, to
witnessed elementary students inside their classroom innocently personating an adult smoker
using candies as their “cigarette.” The concerned netizen requested the barangay and school officials to check establishments in the vicinity of the school and confiscate the said products.
In 2018, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came up with an advisory, and warned public against the purchase and consumption of these unregistered products that might encourage children to smoke. “The public is advised not to purchase and use these candy products or any other food products that resemble the packaging and labeling of cigarette brands, as these might encourage smoking to the consumers, especially children,” the FDA Advisory stated.