UAAP athletes say "Time's Up Tobacco!" to warn youth about smoking harms

UAAP athletes encouraged the youth to avoid smoking by doing a “Time’s Up, Tobacco!” video to remind teenagers that there is nothing cool about getting diseases and dying young. The video was done as a response to an online petition aimed to safeguard the youth from deceptive cigarette advertising that packaged smoking as fun and cool.

Arnold Van Opstal from the De La Salle basketball team said, “Today, the youth should realize that smoking is becoming really unfashionable. It’s not something you look up on. Open your eyes to the dangers that it creates.”

EJ Laure from the University of Santo Tomas volleyball team added, “First of all, the youth should not smoke at all because we all know that smoking can kill you.”

Nico Elorde from the Ateneo University basketball team also recounted his personal experience with the harms of smoking when his grandfather died of lung cancer.

Studies show that 9 out of 10 adult smokers today started as teens or younger. Tobacco companies intentionally target children as young as 13, because once hooked they could be their steady customers for years.

Von Pessumal from the Ateneo University basketball team said, “Cigarette companies are very smart, they know what they’re doing. So they know that if they target younger people they’re gonna have much more money.”

The tobacco companies’ deceptive advertisements and marketing tactics is what pushed Arvin Maceda, a 21-year-old student from University of the Philippines Manila, to start an online petition at calling on UAAP athletes to raise awareness against youth-targeted campaigns of tobacco companies.

Over 7,300 people signed the online petition which was cited by in its “Best of 2014” list and UAAP athletes from different schools responded. Arnold Van Opstal, Von Pessumal, Nico Elorde, Mikee Reyes, EJ Laure, Ryan Monteclaro, Ivan Villanueva, Monica Padilla, Jaysen Cruz, and Patrick Sahol are now at the forefront of cautioning teenagers against the harmful effects of smoking and the deceptive marketing practices of tobacco companies. Other athletes like Moriah Gingerich and Joseph Rey Gallarza sent pictures of themselves doing the “Time’s Up, Tobacco!” handsign.

Some notable supporters of the petition include Dr. Anthony Leachon, President of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and Outstanding Filipino Awardee in Medicine (TOFIL), and Dr. Maria Minerva P. Calimag, President of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA).

Ako Bicol Party List Representative Congressman Rodel Batocabe signed and posted a comment on the petition, “It's important that these youth who are revered as role models by our Filipino youth, do their own part in the social welfare of the country, starting by making a stand against smoking.” Rep. Batocabe forms part of the “Bicol bloc” of legislators who proposed that graphic health warnings cover 85% of cigarette packs.

The petition is part of 'Time’s Up, Tobacco!' – a public movement initiated by HealthJustice Philippines – that seeks to make tobacco companies accountable for the harmful effects of their products on both smokers and non-smokers.
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