MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) targets to lower the number of youth smokers alongside the launch of the government’s anti-smoking campaign.
The implementation of the Executive Order no. 26 or the Nationwide Smoking Ban will take effect on July 16.
Aside from this, health officials are now studying the possibility of creating an ordinance that would ban the use of vapes or electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are not covered by the EO.
“We are pushing something. We’re still getting the technical assistance from the World Health Organization on how to totally ban E-cigarettes or the so-called vaping in public places,” DOH Sec. Paulyn Jean Ubial said.
“Providing the youth and smokers alternative that the youth and smokers think it is safer but there is no safe level of tobacco exposure,”she added.
The DOH and World Health Organization (WHO) say vape contains 7,000 kinds of chemicals which are also present in cigarettes, and should not be used as an alternative to quit smoking.
Even local government units like Manila are waiting for the release of a national ordinance that would prohibit vaping.
Manila City health officer Benjamin Ison said, “We might have a question of law later. So we are waiting for the National DOH to really help us in coming up with definite rules on vaping.”
“We have no penalties and not like with smoking, we just try to streamline the old ordinances that we have,” he added.
On Wednesday, the DOH visited the F. G. Caldron Elem. School in Manila to warn students of the dangers of smoking.
With this campaign, the DOH together with DepEd will make rounds at schools to put up posters against the selling of cigarettes outside and near campuses.
“No Smoking Month and we are focused on the youth that the number would no longer increase and they won’t start smoking. Say no to tobacco bes, don’t smoke. It’s disgusting,” said DOH Sec. Paulyn Jean Ubial.
Grade 7 student Cris mark coral said, “Smoking is bad that’s why I’m not trying it.”
Grade 10 student John Carl Geriente said, “It’s difficult to get sick. A cigarette stick is just P3. But when you start smoking, you’ll pay more for your medication for cancer.”
Based on the 2015 Global Youth Tobacco survey, the percentage of Filipino Youth Smokers aged 13 to 15 had increased.
Each year, DOH spends around P188 billion for the treatment of smoking-related ailments.
Meanwhile, the DOH will launch its Quit Line on June 19 for smokers who would like to seek help in quitting smoking. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue