BAGUIO CITY – The City’s Public Order and Safety Division in cooperation with the Health Services Office disclosed some 199 violators of the city’s comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance were arrested during the whole month of January 2023 following the continuous anti-smoking operations in the different parts of the city.
Allan Faustino, Team Leader of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) disclosed of the total number of violators, some 145 were individuals who were caught smoking in public places while 54 establishments were found to have violated the ordinance.
He claimed that there had been a decrease in the number of establishments violating the anti-smoking ordinance.
However, the number of individuals using vapes has increased, and most of them are tourists unaware of the city’s policy.
Daryll Longid, Head Officer of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), also reported that most of those apprehended individuals are teenagers.
According to him, the apprehended minors, ages 13-17 years old, are using vapes in public places. He explained that youth are becoming attracted to and included in the majority of e-cigarette users due to its appealing, colorful forms and various flavors.
Further, the teenagers caught using e-cigarettes are endorsed and will be taken care of by the city’s Women and Children Protection Desk located at Burnham Park.
Longid also clarified that the said ordinance is under RA 11900, known as the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, a national law that bans smoking in public spaces.
Also, it prohibits the sale and distribution of all consumables and devices linked with heated tobacco products (HTP), vapes, and innovative tobacco products unless registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and contains graphic health warnings.
Under the new vape law, certain conditions allow establishments to sell e-cigarettes, but only two flavors are permitted, menthol and tobacco.
He stipulated that their office would continue to tighten their inspection of public areas often used as smoking areas, especially in parks and marketplaces.
He also tapped the barangays to empower and support their advocacy in monitoring their constituents, especially youths who are not under surveillance.
Moreover, local health authorities conducted an orientation about “Parents Against Vape,” where they started educating the parents about the new forms and flavors of e-cigarette devices.
Dr. Donnabel Panes, medical officer of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), also mentions the harmful effects of using electronic nicotine delivery systems.
“Vapes are claiming that they are non-nicotine devices, but they are actually nicotine devices—it’s not actually a vapor, it’s not water vapor at all, it contains more than a hundred chemicals that can destroy your lungs.”
Furthermore, she added that the first affected area in e-cigarette products is the heart, which can destroy the lining of the heart’s blood vessels.
However, Panes assured that there is still hope for the youth who are becoming addicted to using vapes.
They continuously introduce smoke cessation programs that strive to assist smokers in helping them become and stay nicotine-free. By Via Alyssa Fronda