Bontoc to go tough on smoking

Bontoc, Mountain Province – This capital town is set to fully implement the Anti- Smoking Ordinance, prohibiting smoking of any tobacco product, electronic device and sisha.

Aimed at a promoting a healthful environment, safeguard public health and ensure the well-being of the public, protecting them from the harmful effects of smoking; the Sangguniang Bayan passed Ordinance No. 265 or known as the “Anti- Smoking Ordinance of Bontoc, Mountain Province”

The ordinance prohibits smoking in public conveyances, government –owned vehicles, accommodation and entertainment establishments, work places, enclosed or partially enclosed public places, public buildings, and public outdoor spaces, except in duly designated smoking areas.

It was stipulated in the ordinance that designated smoking areas shall be located in an open space with no permanent or temporary roof or walls in an outdoor area; it shall not be located within 10 meters of entrances, exits or any place where people pass or gather; it shall not have an area larger than five square meters; it shall not have more than one designated smoking area; no food or drinks shall be served in the designated smoking area; every smoking area shall have highly visible and prominently displayed “Smoking Area” sign and a graphic depiction and corresponding explanation of the ill effects of smoking to the smokers health and to the second hand smoke; and all designated smoking areas shall be covered by a Certificate of Compliance from the Office of the Municipal Mayor through the Anti-Smoking Task Force.

Any person who smokes within the prohibited places; any establishment which knowingly allows and tolerates smoking of any tobacco product or using of electronic device systems and sisha; any establishment which refuses the entry of the members the Anti- Smoking Task Force or its duly authorized representatives; and any operator, driver conductor or inspector of public conveyances, government owned and/or company owned vehicles who knowingly tolerates and/or fails to warn or report violators of the ordinance to the task force or its duly representatives or any law enforcer shall be penalized.

Violators of the ordinance can be fined P1, 000.00 or one month imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the first offense; P1, 500.00 or two months imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the second offense; and P2, 000.00 or four months imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offenses.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey in a recent executive order organized the town’s Anti- Smoking Task Force chaired by Administrative Officer V Zenith Rose B. Dalog and Co-Chaired by Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Diga Kay D. Gomez. Sangguniang Bayan member Julian F. Chumacog who chairs the Committee on Health, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Fe K. Toyokan, PSI Faith Ayan Igualdo, the Chief of Police of Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS), the Municipal Information Officer and all punong barangays sit as members.

The task force shall aid in the implementation, monitoring and enforcement; inspect and monitor compliance of all places covered by the ordinance, certify the appropriateness of the designated smoking areas; apprehend violators and recommend closure of non-compliant establishment taking into considerations the provisions of the existing laws; and recommend amendments or revisions of this ordinance with the approval of the Municipal Mayor.

Odsey remarked that the ordinance was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan in 2015 and they have pushed for this to help improve the health of every one.

“We give priority to the right to public health. The municipal government is committed to do its share in support to the concerted anti-smoking drive of the national government and its agencies concerned,” he emphasized.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking has been found to harm nearly every organ system in the body and diminishes person’s overall health. Accordingly, for every cigarette stick smoked, a smoker loses five to 10 minutes of his or her precious life and also endangers the lives of the innocent people around him or her.

These diseases may be acquired not only by the smoker, but the second hand and third hand smokers.  The WHO explains that second hand smoke is a smoke inhaled from someone who is smoking while third hand smoke is the combination of cigarette by products that cling to smoker’s hair and clothing as well as to floors, surfaces, carpets, furniture, appliances, fabrics and children’s toy –even after tobacco smoke has cleared.

Health officials also warned that smokers may acquire cancer, Chronic Obstructive, Disease, Cardiovascular disease and Oral health problems if they will not kick the habit of smoking.

By Alpine L. Killa, Bontoc

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