No smoking law implementation kicks off today PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 April 2014 11:27

Ordinance 413 which regulates smoking in the city kicks off implementation today, April 7, less the penalties and fines for the first 54 days.

Mayor Beng Climaco together with Councilor Myra Paz Abubakar and other sponsors of the ordinance together with City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos  will spearhead the launching of the information drive on Ordinance 413 after the flag raising ceremony in front of City Hall. Barangay officials within the 7-kilometer radius are enjoined to participate in the said activity.

The launching will be highlighted by the unfurling of the huge no smoking tarp at the City Hall balcony to underscore the City Government’s determination to implement the law to the letter. A similar tarpaulin set up in a billboard will also be unveiled, after which, a motorcade around the city’s central district will follow.

The information drive will end May 31, coinciding with the observance of World No Tobacco Day, which will also mark the full implementation of Ordinance 413 with the imposition of the penalties and fines for violators as provided in the said law.

Ordinance 413, enacted in June 2013 prohibits smoking in centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for persons under 18 years of age; elevators and stairwells; fire hazard locations such as gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials; within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals, train and bus stations, restaurants and conference halls except for separate smoking areas and food preparation areas.

But the designation of a smoking area in all enclosed places that are open to the general public, private work places and other places where smoking may expose a person to the other than the smoker, is mandated under the law.

The ordinance likewise provides penalties for smokers as well as establishments violating the provisions of the law. For smokers, the penalties are P500 or one day community service for first offense; P1,000 or two days community service for second offense; P2,000 or three days community service for third offense and P5,000 without prejudice to the filing of any criminal case or at the discretion of the Court for fourth and subsequent offense.

On the other hand, the establishment that allows smokers to freely smoke in “no smoking” areas and found violating the provisions of the ordinance, will be fined P1,000 for first offense; P2,000 for second offense; P3,000 for third offense and P5,000 for fourth offense and revocation or cancellation of the business permit.

Other principal authors of the ordinance are former Councilor and now District II Representative Lilia Nuño and Councilors Rommel Agan and Cesar Jimenez Jr.

Records from the City Health Office show that smoking is one of the major causes of death in the city for several years now.

The Wikipedia cites a 2009 survey spearheaded by the Department of Health which states that 28.3 percent of the population in the country are “current tobacco smokers”.  The Philippines is the 15th largest consumer of cigarettes in the world in 2002 and currently has one of the highest smoking rates in Asia as well as some of the lowest cigarette prices. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 Filipinos die every hour due to cancer, stroke, lung and heart diseases brought on by cigarette smoking the Wikipedia added. — Sheila Covarrubias