By: BY JENNIFER C. TILOS
TANJAY CITY, Negros Oriental (PIA) — Tanjay City has joined others in prohibiting smoking in public places in compliance with the local ordinance, noting health risks.
During a formal launching on anti-smoking campaign today, Mayor Lawrence Teves called on residents here to cooperate with government’s drive against smoking.
This was backed by Department of Health (DOH) National Director Dr. Asuncion Anden in a press conference, saying that smoke-related diseases such as cancer top the leading causes of deaths in the country.
Anden said tobacco use causes more deaths annually associated with cardiovascular diseases (including heart diseases and stroke), diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and asthma.
She noted that 47.7% of adult males aged 15 and above are currently smokers despite the continuous warnings of DOH.
She stressed that local government units have to take the lead and make bold steps to curb smoking among their constituents.
Mayor Teves appealed to the public to work together in the implementation of the ordinance to regulate smoking in the city.
The mayor said the anti-smoking ordinance is offered as a Christmas gift for a healthy citizenry in celebration of “Pasko sa Tanjay Festival” towards a healthy city.
While there at least two national laws that mandate the banning of smoking in public places, it was noted that the local ordinance or the local government unit has the political will to strictly implement the regulation.
Dr. Anden cited some measures to sustain the campaign which include raise the local tax to tobacco and alcohol vendors, impose no selling of cigarettes to minors, do not allow selling of cigarettes by sticks but by packs, provide alternative livelihood to farmers planting tobacco, place a graphic warning in the cigarette box, among others.
However, enforcement of the no smoking ordinance will be implemented after six months of massive information drive.
The health official noted that even local officials who smoke can become anti-smoking advocates as long as they themselves comply with the smoking ban. (rmn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)
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