City bats for smoke-free environment

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BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities underscored the importance of achieving a smoke-free environment by pushing for the approval of the needed amendments to the city’s anti-smoking ordinance that will strictly prohibit smoking inside all buildings citywide.

Dra. Donnabel L. Tubera, medical officer IV of the Baguio City Health Office, stated the alarming rate of smokers, especially among females, in Baguio City during a recent conference. During a recent survey conducted by the city health office there 27 smokers among 100 individuals representing a percentage of 27.2 percent smokers in the city.

Among the 27.2 percent smokers, 42 percent of them are male and 12.2 percent of them are female. She even added that female smokers in Baguio top the national prevalence survey which is at 9 percent.

“That’s alarming for us because these are future mothers; women who will give birth to children. Studies show that if you are a smoker when you were pregnant, may behavioral change po yung anak lalo na po pag lalaki,” Dra. Tubera stated, saying that their office is really concerned over the significant surge in the number of smokers among females in the city.

What is even alarming is that when Saint Luis University conducted another survey, they were able to register a respondent as young as 10 years old. As for the survey conducted by the city health office, they surveyed those who were aged 15 years old and above.

From this survey, one of the main reasons why people indulge themselves in smoking is because of peer pressure coupled with the easy access of cigarettes to the public, thus, the need to craft stringent policies that would reduce the accessibility of cigarettes to the young people.

On the other hand, Dra. Tubera also mentioned that the city’s rate on second-hand smoke exposure is lower at 16 percent compared to the national data, which is at 37 percent. According to her, their office is working on the smoke-free workplace which means that smoking should not be allowed inside buildings in order to lessen the exposure of people to second-hand smoke considering that the somke from the cigarettes are confined in the said structures.

Consequently, she gave a quick recap on the disadvantages of smoking by mentioning the 4 Cs. First is the cerebrovascular disease or more commonly known as stroke. Another C is the cardiovascular disease or heart attack. Next is the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lastly, cancer.

“Wala po sa constitution natin ang right to smoke. Kahit po tingnan niyo po and 1987 Constitution natin,wala pong right to smoke. Nakalagay po dun, right to health,” the health officer said.

Regarding their programs and activities for the No Smoking month, she mentioned that they are working on the 100-meter radius from the school as a no smoking area; and that no store within that distance is allowed to sell cigarettes.

The city health office also had a digital photography contest which they planned to do regularly. She also mentioned that RA 10643, which stated that 30 percent of cigarette packaging must be occupied by the digital health warning, is already approved. By BLESS SUBILLA

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