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PIA Press Release
2009/10/21

DOH-7 compound declared smoke-free

Cebu City (21 October) -- "The DOH-7 Regional Office Compound is smoke-free" is the declaration made by the regional program coordinator of the Stop Smoking Campaign Program of the Department of Health (DOH-7).

Dr. Juditha Tawatao, program coordinator of the Stop Smoking Program of the health department issued the statement during this morning's Kapihan sa PIA that promoted the Red Orchid Award recently launched by the DOH-7.

The Red Orchid Award is the search for the 100 percent smoke free town, hospital and offices as part of the component in the promotion of the Healthy Lifestyle Program, Tawatao said.

In response to the campaign on kicking off the smoking habit, the DOH-7 issued a memorandum order banning smoking in the DOH-7 compound premises, Tawatao added.

Since the memo was recently implemented, no personnel has been seen smoking, according to Tawatao but added that there is no penalty involved if one is caught smoking a cigarette.

Tawatao said that if we are to lead the campaign in the Stop Smoking Program, then we have to set the example.

The DOH-7 official said cigarette smoking is the culprit of many respiratory and cardiac diseases as well as a risk factor for the development of lung cancer as it seeks the support of the local government units to apply its political will to implement the realization of the campaign.

"In fairness to the local government units, almost all have passed a local ordinance in support of the stop smoking program but the flaw lies in the poor implementation," Tawatao disclosed.

Tawatao added the 100 percent no smoking campaign or basically banning smoking is a toll order almost harboring on the impossible but their advocacy places emphasis on removing designated smoking areas in establishments because of the ill-effects this imposes to passive smokers.

"Passive smokers face more dangers in getting respiratory, heart or lung cancer than active smokers" as Tawatao said they are advocating for smokers to light their cigarettes 10 meters away from any building.

About 33 percent of the country's population are said to be active smokers which does not include the effect this has on passive smokers or non-smokers who get to inhale cigarette smoke, according to Tawatao.

Tawatao hailed the local government of Amlan in Negros Oriental which is implementing the 'no smoking' campaign of the health department.

"As soon as you enter the municipality of Amlan, there is a big billboard that states 'Amlan is a no-smoking municipality,'" Tawatao disclosed.

The DOH-7 official urged other local government units to follow the example of Amlan and promote a healthy constituency.

The Red Orchid Award on the other hand, aims to boost the No Smoking Campaign of the DOH-7 as it awarding ceremonies is set on November 20. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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