Philippines: Baguio smoke-free TF, execs destroy P150-K seized cigarettes

18 February 2019
Pamela Mariz Geminiano
Philippines News Agency:

BAGUIO CITY–The Baguio smoke-free task force and city officials destroyed some PHP150,000 worth of cigarettes confiscated during operations from establishments to implement the smoking ban here.

“This is to signify strong commitment to make Baguio City smoke-free. We will crush two of the four sacks of cigarettes which were confiscated from establishments found violating the smoke-free ordinance,” said Ma Cecilia Agpawa, Smoke-Free project coordinator of the Baguio Health Services Office (HSO).

The move is to further drum up the city’s drive for a smoke-free and clean air city via Ordinance 34 series 2017.

She said from January to December 2018, they have recorded a total of 5,259 individual and establishment violations.

“Those who were unable to pay the fine were made to render community service by cleaning the streets at the central business district,” Agpawa said

The city collected a total of PHP2.54 million in 2018 from fines paid by violators.

The ordinance prescribes the fine of PHP1,000; PHP2,000; and PHP3,000 for the first to third offense, respectively. An establishment is fined PHP2,000; PHP3,000 and PHP5,000 for the first to 3rd offense plus revocation of the business license.

Ordinance 34-2017 or the “Smoke-free Baguio”, which took effect in May 2017, prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places, imposing penalties, and allotting corresponding funds.

Agpawa said the leading cause of death in Baguio City for the past five years is heart disease.

“If you are a smoker your risk of having a heart disease is twice that of a none smoker, and smoking is one of the modifiable risk factors together with physical exercise and dietary modification,” she said.

“Cigarette smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals which can damage the heart and blood vessels and lead to cardio vascular diseases and even death, not only to the smokers but also to those second-hand smokers,” she added.

She said smoking was found to cause health problems not just to the smoker, but those who inhale the smoke emitted by the smoker or called second-hand smoke.

There is also the danger of third-hand smoke or those that stick on clothes, blanket and other cloth that another person gets to inhale.

“When you breathe in cigarette smoke, the blood that is distributed to the rest of the body becomes contaminated with the smoke’s chemicals,” Agpawa said.

Meanwhile, the city government is encouraging everybody to participate in the upcoming Smoke-Free Baguio activity on February 28. (PNA)