Displaying items by tag: Smoking

National smoking ban

 

Providing a smoking area within

the same building with one ventilation system

is like designating a urinating area

in a swimming pool.

 

HealthJustice Philippines, a vigilant think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion and a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control, sent out a press release May 12, 2017 praising “Davao City Vices Regulation Unit for its strict enforcement of smoking ban and apprehension of 4,487 violators since its formation last month.”

“We commend the local government of Davao City and its Vices Regulation Unit for strictly enforcing the provisions of its pertinent local ordinances and national and international laws banning smoking in public spaces. Davao City has been recognized by no less than the World Health Organization for its landmark tobacco control ordinance, and since then it has continued setting a sterling example in crafting and implementing tobacco control measures for cities across the country and the whole world to emulate,” said Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza, president and trustee of HealthJustice.

“We hope that President Duterte will soon sign the ‘smoke-free’ Executive Order that will not only strengthen the enforcement of existing smoking bans, but also direct local governments to pattern their anti-smoking ordinances after that of Davao, which includes a ‘no smoking indoors’ policy,” she added.

*        *        *

Cebu in the 1990s, expanding on its existing ban on smoking in public establishments then, proposed its laudable goal to make Cebu city a smoke-free city by year 2006. I was among its staunchest supporter and stated then that achieving this would earn Cebu the enviable distinction of being one of the healthiest cities and tourist spots in the world. Unfortunately, wisdom, health, and medical science were no match to the power of money and political correctness.

I remember that there were some brainless city legislators who wanted to amend the ordinance to allow smoking after 9:00 P.M. and for the creation of smoking areas in shopping malls, restaurants, etc.

Did these obviously ignorant officials think that active and passive smoking would only cause cancers, cardiovascular illnesses, and lung diseases before 9:00 P.M., and that smoking after 9 PM would be safe? Did they honestly think that the smoking areas (within a building) will prevent the 4000 harmful (200 of them cancer-causing) chemicals in tobacco smoke from getting into the ventilation system and expose and hurt everyone in the premises, including non-smokers and children?

What in this issue was NOT clear?  I bet even the kids in the kindergarten can see how ludicrous these proposed amendments are. 

Unless the designated room is air-tight and totally excluded from the main building (of shopping malls, restaurants, stores, hospitals, public libraries, theaters, the workplace, etc.), and has a ventilation system of its own, it would be ineffective and useless. Providing a smoking area within the same building with one ventilation system is like designating a urinating area in a swimming pool. This is the same scientific and medical principle why the smoking ban in commercial airplanes also includes the toilets, besides all the cabins and the cockpit. A simple common sense.

The issue is crystal clear. Smoking and second hand-smoking or passive smoking maim and kill millions in countries around the world, the Philippines included. Spraying poison in the air, as in passive smoking, adversely affect everyone in the area. 

The simplest, totally cost-free, and medically effective solution is to allow smoking ONLY outside of, and a distance from, public buildings. What could be more obvious? A national smoking ban, while unpopular and controversial, would provide an immeasurable boost to people’s and the nation’s health.

While I abhor smoking and inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke for health reasons, I defend the right of smokers to smoke. That is their constitutional right…so long as the exercise of that right does not offend or hurt the people around them and infringe upon the rights of others. After all, non-smokers have rights too: not to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. Where there is a conflict, the right of the non-smoker prevails. This is an accepted legal tenet.

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the fume that one involuntarily inhales after someone who smokes exhales it (called mainstream smokes), or the fume that goes directly to the atmosphere from the burning tobacco (cigarette, pipe or cigar) called side stream smoke. When non-smokers breathe in these smokes or fumes from other people’s cigarettes, cigars or pipes, this is involuntarily inhalation called passive smoking. As stated earlier, tobacco smoke contains about 4000 chemicals, 200 of them known poisons and carcinogens. Smoking around people is similar to spraying known poison gases into the atmosphere, victimizing and posing even greater health hazards to non-smokers.

Does passive smoking cause cancer?

Yes, active and passive smoking cause cancers, besides bronchitis, premature births, smaller babies with higher risk for impaired mental development, respiratory illnesses among children, emphysema, heart attack, and stroke. In the United States, cancer victims of smoking, and family members of smokers who died from cigarette-related illness, have sued cigarette manufacturing companies, and have won millions in awards. While they vehemently denied it before, cigarette companies today have admitted in public that tobacco causes cancers and other lung illnesses. The courts have likewise ruled in a similar fashion in favor of victims of passive smoking (as in the airline stewardess’ case). In 1986, the Surgeon General of the United States reported that involuntary (passive) smoking can cause lung cancer in healthy non-smokers. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now classified secondhand smoke as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

If we, as a people and as a nation, are really serious in eliminating all the smoking-related killer diseases that snuff out more than 240 lives a day, yes, a day, not a month, causing the loss of loved ones and family devastation, promulgating a national smoking ban truly makes sense.

But don’t hold your breath. History shows that majority of our elected politicians, leaders we voted for to protect us, do not have balls and the wisdom and the will to eliminate this vicious serial killer amidst us. The illnesses and deaths from tobacco far exceed the morbidity and mortality from illegal drugs.

Let’s see if President Rodrigo R. Duterte can extinguish this political insanity that is holding the people’s health hostage. 

Visit philipSchua.com    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Duterte signs order banning smoking in public

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte signed the executive order banning smoking in all public places and prohibiting cigarette consumption by minors, it was learned on Thursday.

 

Under Executive Order 26, which the president signed on May 16 and made public only Thursday, smoking is already prohibited in “enclosed” public places and public utility vehicles regardless if they are moving or stationary and is allowed only in designated smoking areas.

Individuals who allow or tolerate smoking in these places will be held responsible.

Selling, distribution and purchasing of tobacco products from minors are also prohibited, according to EO 26. Individuals caught selling or distributing cigarettes to minors cannot use not knowing the real age of the minor as a defense, according to the order.

The seller of the cigarette could also not claim that he did not know that the cigarette product was for the consumption of the minor to defend himself, the EO says.

Minors will also be prohibited from smoking, selling and buying cigarettes and other tobacco products, the EO says.

In addition, ordering, instructing or compelling of a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver and promote tobacco products will likewise be prohibited.

The EO says that the selling or distribution of tobacco products in a school, public playground, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places is also not allowed.

Selling cigarettes to minors and selling them near a school have actually been illegal since 2003 under the Tobacco Regulation Act. Smoking indoors is already prohibited by the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.

No tobacco ads near schools

The advertisement of tobacco products within 100 meters from the perimeter of these places is also banned, according to the presidential order.

“Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors, hostel and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by them, or in an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products,” one of the provisions of the order reads.

The placement of any form of tobacco advertisement outside of the premises of the point-of-sale retail establishments is also banned, as well as the placement of any stall, booth and other displays concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale locations or adult-only facilities.

Designated smoking areas

The said order also enumerated the requirements needed for designated smoking areas as well as those that cannot be used as such.

According to the order, the following standards should be followed for DSAs:

  1. DSAs should have no opening that will allow air to escape from the DSA to smoke-free area of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer, provided that, if the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone.

  2. DSAs should not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in from of air intake ducts.

  3. The combined area of the DSA and the buffer zone should not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building or conveyance, provided that in no case shall such area be less than 10 square meters.

  4. No building or conveyance shall have more than one DSA.

  5. The ventilation system for the DSA other than in an open space and for the buffer zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems servicing the rest of the building or conveyance.

  6. Minors shall not be allowed inside the DSA and the buffer zone.

  7. The DSA shall have the following signs which are highly visible and prominently displayed:

    1. “Smoking Area”

    2. Graphic health warning on the effects of tobacco use

    3. Prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old

  8. Other standards and specification to better ensure a smoke-free environment as may be prescribed by the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco under Republic Act 9211 provided that such standards and specifications are consistent with the order and that persons-in-charge are given 60 days to comply.

The EO says that the following places cannot be used as DSAs:

  1. Centers of youth activity such as schools, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors

  2. Elevators and stairwells

  3. Fire-hazard locations such as gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials

  4. Buildings and premises of hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories

  5. Food preparation areas

 

(philstar.com)

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WHO congratulates PH for 1.1-M decline in number of smokers

  • Published in Health

MANILA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the country’s leadership in promoting significant interventions leading to a dramatic decline in the number of smokers from 2009 to 2015.
"The decrease in tobacco use that we've seen herein the Philippines for the last years is truly remarkable, also from a global perspective," WHO country representative, Dr. Gundo Weiler, has said.
Weiler was referring to the 2015 Global Adult TobaccoSurvey (GATS) report, which showed a 1.1 million drop in the number of smokers in the country from 17 million in 2009 to 15.9 million in 2015.
The GATS Survey is used to monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco control indicators across countries. In the Philippines,the survey was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine StatisticsAuthority, with technical assistance provided by the US Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC) and WHO, among others. The analysis and writing of the report was funded by the Department of Health.
Weiler noted that with the nearly 20 percent reduction in the number of smokers, the Philippines has achieved the level of international practices.
"You see such a dramatic change. Change can only be brought about based on a very strong political commitment," the WHO official said in an interview.
Weiler said the current administration’s sound leadership, as demonstrated by President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City when he was still mayor, and the long-time advocacy of Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial, has contributed a lot to the reduction.
He also cited the other factors that led to the reduction, among them the implementation of the Tobacco Reform Law in 2012 or the "anti-cancer tax" as stipulated in Republic Act 10351; the implementation of the Graphic Health Warning in cigarette packs; and the creation of anti-smoking ordinances by local governments.
Weiler expressed hope that these interventions would be further strengthened by the much-awaited Executive Order on a smoke-freePhilippines that is expected to be signed by the President soon.
Noting that some 87,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related illnesses every year, he said these interventions are needed to protect the youth and children, from whom would come the next generation of smokers.
"While this is truly a great achievement, we need to redouble our efforts and intensify the interventions that have proven to be effective,” he said.
He assured that the WHO will continue to support thePhilippine government to reduce the morbidity and mortality linked to tobacco use among Filipinos. -- PNA

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