City gov’t to intensify anti-smoking crackdown PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:48

By Jasmine Mohammadsali

The City Government will initiate an intensified week-long crackdown on violators of the smoking ordinance next week in line with the global commemoration of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

From May 25 to May 31, the Smoke-Free Task Force of Zamboanga City will be making the rounds in public areas within the City to monitor compliance and apprehend violators of Ordinance 413, also known the Ordinance Regulating Smoking in the City.

According to City Health Officer Dr. RodelinAgbulos, aside from the intensified crackdowns on violators, the Task Force will also be initiating public advocacies on the dangers of smoking.

It will also closely monitoring cigarette vendors’ compliance to the ordinance, specifically the provisions that prohibit the sale of cigarettes to minors and in areas within 100 meters from school perimeters.

Immediate closure of establishments found to be in violation of these provisions will be recommended by the Smoke-Free Task Force, added Agublos.

The World No Tobacco Day is an annual activity spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners to bring to the forefront the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

With the theme “Stop illicit trade of tobacco products”, this year’s World No Tobacco Day calls on countries to work together to end illicit trade of tobacco products inasmuch as this is a major global concern, including health, legal and economic, governance and corruption.

Last year, the City commemorated the World No Tobacco Day with the full implementation of Ordinance 413. Enacted in June 2013, the ordinance prohibits smoking in centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels; elevators and stairwells; fire hazard locations; within buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, health centers, clinics, nursing homes and laboratories; public conveyance and facilities such as airports, bus stations and ship terminals; restaurants and conference halls except for separate smoking areas and food preparation areas.

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.

Prior to its full implementation, a City-wide information drive was initiated by the City Government.— Jasmine Mohammadsali