DOH hails Nueva Vizcaya's "smoke-free" ordinance
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (November 9) -- The Department of Health (DOH) has praised the province Monday for the launching of its "Smoke-Free" ordinance.
""We are very impressed with your smokefree ordinance that included not only public places, workplaces and public conveyances but also public outdoor places. This will surely safeguard public health and ensure the physical well-being of the citizens of this province," DOH assistant secretary Nemesio Gako stressed.
He said that while the ordinance will benefit nonsmokers and smokers alike, it will also serve as an inspiration and role model to other provinces, cities and municipalities with the "excellent tobacco control measures."
He also expressed optimism that the implementation of the ordinance will not solely depend on the duties and responsibilities of the provincial enforcement team but would also elicit support and prompt action of all Novo Vizcayanos.
"It is everyone's duty and right to politely tell them to smoke in an open space that is far from everybody else. Better yet, convince them to quit," Gako further stated.
The assistant secretary also commended the inclusion of the provision for smoking cessation program and facility in the ordinance since quitting smoking is not that easy especially for those already addicted to nicotine.
"Tobacco dependence should be viewed as a chronic disease that requires multiple interventions and sometimes many quit attempts are needed. Remember that smokers have the right to the best information and the best available services to quit inorder to protect their health and the health of their loved ones," Gako added.
Known as Ordinance No.2010-049 or the "Smoke - Free" ordinance of Nueva Vizcaya", the measure prohibits smoking in certain public places, including public conveyances and imposing penalties for violations.
Authored by former board member Edgardo "Edu" Balgos, the measure which was approved in March this year will be initially implemented within the provincial capitol, deputizing the provincial security guards to stop and report violators of the law.
The Calderon Compound and the back of the People's Hall have been identified as Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs).
The ordinance carries the following offenses and penalties for violators: P1,500 fine for the first offense, P2,500 for 2nd offense and P5,000 for the third.
Provincial officials said the ordinance was crafted to prevent if not totally eliminate smoking as one of the major causes of deaths in the world through diseases and illnesses developed from the habit.
Statistics showed that smoking is prevalent mostly among males with ages ranging from 20 to 50 years old bracket.
The anti-smoking program in the province is funded by the Bloomberg Foundation under the Fourmula 1 agenda of the Department of Health (DOH).
The Smoke-Free Nueva Vizcaya Project here is expected to roll out in 2011 with the allocation of at least P.4 million recently by the Provincial Development Council (PDC).
With the "Smoke-Free " ordinance, Nueva Vizcaya became the first province in the country to locally adopt and implement the Anti-Smoking "law. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]