Bontoc, Mountain Province – Elective provincial officials led the campaign urging the smokers to quit or stop from smoking during the observance of the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2017.
With this year’s theme “Tobacco – a threat to development”, employees from national government agencies, provincial government, municipal local government units, academe and members of the Provincial Anti-Smoking Task Force (PASTF) participated in a parade along the thoroughfares of the capital town holding placards condemning smoking and showing its ill-effects on the health of the smoker and the individuals who are exposed to second-hand smoke. A short program ensued at the Provincial Plaza.
Spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Mountain Province through its PASTF, the activity aimed to encourage the participation and support of all government entities and other stakeholders in promoting the general welfare, health, and safety of the public; encouraging 24-hour abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption; and intensifying public awareness on the negative effects of tobacco on one’s health.
In his welcome message, Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli encouraged the smokers to stop and quit the habit of smoking by emphasizing that it destroys the health of the smoker and those who inhale the smoke.
Provincial Administrator Amador P. Batay-an who is also the Chairperson of the PASTF, in his testimony, shared his experience of being a smoker starting at the age of five and how he quit the habit.
According to him, it was because of the health situation of his wife that he instantly stopped from smoking. He added that quitting may not be easy but it is possible.
Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan Jr., in his message, also admitted that he started to smoke at a young age. He recounted that one factor which helped him stop was the thought of being able to save for school needs and other productive activities rather than spending on cigarettes that damages the health.
Lacwasan added that he did not experience the negative effect of smoking on his health in his younger years, but he decided to quit, not only because of his health but of his concern to his family’s health.
The governor is hopeful that the observance of the World No Tobacco Day will encourage other smokers to commit themselves to stop from smoking.
Provincial Health Officer Dr.Nenita D. Lizardo, in her message, is optimistic that more smokers will be encouraged to stop smoking with the messages and testimonies shared by the speakers.
Meanwhile, saying there is no other effective way to prevent tobacco-related deaths but to quit smoking, smokers are urged to visit the smoking cessation clinic at the Provincial Health Office that may help them stop the habit.
Health Education Promotions Officer (HEPO) II Prima Donna L. Te-elan said that the smoking cessation clinic offers needed support to smokers who want to quit and are experiencing difficulty quitting.
The clinic is staffed by health workers who assure confidential records of their clients. Those interested to avail of the services free of charge may visit the PHO from Monday to Friday at 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon.
Te-elan explained that smoking cessation refers to techniques such motivation, advice, guidance, and counseling to encourage and help smokers stop using tobacco and avoid a relapse.
Health workers who offer counseling to their clients say that quitting may not be easy to smokers because of nicotine dependence; nevertheless, it is possible. Te-elan explained that symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may be experienced in the first days of quitting. These include craving, irritability, frustration or anger, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, decreased heart rate, sleep disturbance, and increased appetite. However, all of these symptoms will stop if the smoker is determined to stop.
She also gave tips to smokers on how to quit smoking.
“Throw away all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays in your home and car; talk to family and friends about how they can help and encourage you to quit; plan how to handle the places and events that you know will make you want to smoke; treat yourself with money you have saved from buying cigarettes; delay smoking, deep breathing, drink water, and make yourself busy with recreational activities,” Te-elan enumerated.
By Alpine L. Killa