After scrupulously following the Sin Tax committee hearings for the past few weeks, unexpectedly there was nothing coverage. Dead silence. Media appeared to have been frustrated deaf and silence. Or could there have been motives from those-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken? On his FB wall, Secretary Purisima posted this argument. “There is a total news temporary of the health issue in the sin tax discussion. There was zero cover of yesterday’s dramatic testimonies on the ill effects of smoking habit and the role of taxation in reducing tobacco consumption. Lobby vs sin tax is very evident.

We will push very hard for DOF version in spite of the healthy opposition from similar interests. We need your help.”

Last Thursday’s hearing was especially newsworthy as it covered evidence on the negative effects of smoking cigarettes. Among those invited at the hearing was the group of ex-smokers who spoke through a mechanical larynx that made their voice sound like a weaker version of Darth Vader. Some had developed throat cancer and attributed the holes in their throat to non-stop smoking.

In a sad story featured in BBC, a woman named Debi, who first start smoking at age 13, developed throat cancer at age 41. She had a very complicated surgery and was fitted with a stoma, literally, a hole in the neck. But her nicotine addiction was so extreme; she continued to smoke through the stoma even after her bout with life-threatening cancer.

“I light the cig with absorption from my mouth, and after it’s lit I put it to the stoma. I’d like to say I just take a little puff, but you don’t, you get all that you can,” she told with desperation.

Medical specialists have declared that nicotine addiction is harder to break than heroine, cocaine or shabu cravings combined. There is strong testimony to support this opinion even though cigarette makers have steadfastly refused that nicotine was very addictive.

Dr. Victor DeNoble was a ex-research scientist at Philip Morris in the ’80s. In laboratory experiments, he showed that nicotine was indeed exceptionally addictive.