The Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Local Government of Pasig, in observance of June as No Smoking Month, on Monday strongly reminded partner agencies, schools, universities, colleges, and parents to religiously enforce a 100% smoke-free school facilities as most classes in the country starts in June.
Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin noted that since the implementation of the Sin Tax Reform of 2012, a dramatic decrease in smoking prevalence among the poor and the young was reported.
The Social Weather Stations first quarter 2014 Survey revealed that the percentage of those currently smoking in Class E decreased from 38% in 2012 to 25% in 2014. For the 18-24 year old age group, the percentage of those currently smoking also fell from 35% in 2012 to 18% in 2014.
“Studies have shown that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood and fall prey to being ‘replacement smokers’ of the tobacco industry,” Garin said.
“Hence, we call on students, as well as the rest of our young population, to never start smoking. For those of you who have unfortunately started, I urge you to quit immediately. Professional help is available for those who want to quit,” she also said.
“Not smoking, or quitting smoking, greatly reduces your risk for disease and early death. You also protect the health of others by preventing exposure to secondhand smoke.” Garin explained.
The health chief added that the exposure of people inhaling second-hand smoke is more dangerous than those who smoke.
Second-hand smoking increases non-smokers’ risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and other cancers (nasal sinus cavity cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and bladder cancer, among others) and lung diseases (such as tuberculosis and pneumonia).
There is an existing law Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which provides that tobacco products could not be sold or distributed within 100 meters from the school perimeter, as well as near public playgrounds or any other facility that minors frequently go to.
The penalties for violation on all restrictions range from a fine of not less than P500 to not more than P400,000 and imprisonment ranging from 30 days to three years depending on the seriousness of the violation. Moreover, business permits and licenses may also be revoked or cancelled.
Meanwhile, the DOH stresses the full implementation of Graphic Health Warning Law this November.
This year’s theme, “Graphic Health Warnings: Full Blast na sa November! Alamin. Unawain. Bantayan natin.” raises awareness on the full implementation of the GHW law which requires all tobacco products to carry pictorial warnings that show the ill effects of smoking.
Since March this year, in line with the release of the Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) implementing rules and regulations, all tobacco products manufactured or imported for sale in the Philippines are required to carry graphic health warnings on the lower portion of a cigarette pack, in at least 50 percent of both sides of the pack. (JCA)