DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates has applied excise taxes on cigarettes and sugary drinks starting October 1, 2017, in an effort to curb the consumption of these “harmful products.”

The Excise Tax places a 50 percent tax on carbonated drinks, sugary drinks, and a tax on energy drinks and tobacco products by 100 percent.

A Filipino doctor based in Dubai is happy to know that the government is taking steps in deterring the people from buying unhealthy products.

“One thing about smoking is it really kills. In fact, when you check all the cigarettes packs, [it] contains warning signs [or gory images] of lungs or anything disturbing just to stress the fact that smoking really kills,” Dr. Daffodils Guevarra, general practitioner at Prime Medical Center, told Kabayan Weekly.

Unfortunately, recent study shows that majority of smokers don’t care about these disgusting images, even as they would still get packs of cigarettes whenever they want.

With 100 percent tax on selected products in the market, Guevarra admitted that it will have an effect on heavy smokers and frequent drinkers of sugary products.

“Maybe, just maybe, the frequency of smoking and drinking of softdrinks will get less,” she added.

For some, eating certain food without softdrinks is not satisfying.

Guevarra understands this as this has “cultural effect” for some Filipinos.

“Some food is perfect with a bottle of softdrinks. Something I notice about in the Philippines, is they think it’s normal to drink one. Bata pa lang nakikita na nila na okay yun, but to be honest it’s really bad,” she added.

The amount of sugar in one bottle of softdrinks is staggering, she noted.

“If you watch all those YouTube videos, coke is used to clean toilets.

“It has a content that remove stains,” she said.

Selling softdrinks in primary schools in the UAE is no longer allowed.

“As a doctor, I suggest them to drink water,” she added.

“I’m quite happy also that, nowadays, I see Filipinos [it’s anecdotal] hindi sya study. I’ve seen people they tend to opt orange juice or water na lang sa mga fastfood chains,” she said.

She said that the government of UAE did the right thing, but the society needs to do more because people will not stop buying these products.

“Multifactorial yan; media has to come, doctor has to do something about it and patient education should be there,” she added.

She reminds public that if they want to enjoy and live longer, they have to take care of their health.

“It’s more so about taking care (of) your health. You have one body, one change to have a long life,” Guevarra said.

“I know it’s hard to stop from smoking, but it’s attainable.

“And to be very honest, if you want to stop drinking softdrinks, try drinking more water and you’ll really get a hang of it,” she said.


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