650 anti-smoking violators nabbed in Baguio

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BAGUIO CITY – The City Health Services Office disclosed some 650 violators of the city’s comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance were arrested by deputized personnel of the city government during the whole month of December 2019 following the continuous anti-smoking operations in the different parts of the city.

City Health Services Office medical officer Dr. Donabel Tubera disclosed of the total number of violators issued citation tickets by deputized personnel, some 578 were individuals who were caught smoking in public places while 72 establishments found to have violated pertinent provisions of the comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance.

However, she admitted that of the 578 individuals issued citation tickets,  only 100 paid the prescribed fines with the City Treasury Office while only 21 of the 72 establishments violating the ordinance settled their imposed fines.

The medical officer urged establishments with no designated smoking areas to apply for the issuance of the necessary permit for such areas that should be located outside the said establishments.

At present, there are only 8 establishments in the different parts of the city allowed to have their own designated smoking areas pursuant to the provisions of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance.

Baguio City is one of the numerous local governments which has a comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance.

Tubera reiterated the previous warnings issued by the City Health Services Office for smokers to already quit smoking to prevent the serious negative effects of smoking cigarettes to the health condition of the smoker and the non-smoking members of his or her family and the state of the city’s environment.

She claimed aside from the serious negative effects of smoking cigarettes to the health of both the smokers and noon-smokers, the same could also result to reported erectile dysfunction among men among other identified health hazards, thus, the need for smokers to have second thoughts.

Earlier, the city government deputised additional personnel and volunteers, including personnel of the City Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), to enforce the provisions of the anti-smoking ordinance to sustain the gains of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance in curbing the proliferation of smokers in public places around the city.

The City Council enacted Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 or the city’s comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance amending the city government’s anti-smoking ordinance crafted over two decades ago and pursuant to the added provisions against vaping in public places to regulate the use of vapes in public hazards which was also declared one of the health hazards.

Individual smokers face a fine of P1,000 for smoking in public places while establishments that are caught selling cigarettes face a fine of P2,000 for each pinpointed violation.

By Dexter A. See