• Smoke-free advocates slam public smokers

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    BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: Smoke-free advocates have expressed concern over the increasing number of people who smoke in public places despite an ordinance being implemented in the province.

    Susan Basilio, Smoke-Free Program coordinator here, said public smoking continues to thrive in the province because of the passive reaction of majority of Novo Vizcayanos even as authorities have put up a relentless drive against it.

    She said this situation is getting worse despite the enforcement of the Smoke-Free Ordinance by the Philippine National Police and their allied volunteers.

    “If we are witnesses to this violation, we should do our responsibility to advise them on the ill effects of public smoking and the existence of the law prohibiting it,” Basilio said.

    She also encouraged the public to take pictures of those who smoke in public places and turn them over to the authorities for necessary action.

    Ordinance No. 2010-049, authored by then board member Edgardo Balgos, defines public conveyances as mode of transports such as, but not limited to, jeepneys, buses, tricycles, and other similar vehicles where smoking is strictly prohibited.

    Basilio said that while police enforcement of the ordinance is a deterrent factor on the prevention of public smoking, a heightened information, education and communication campaign could also help curb public smoking.

    “This will encourage smokers to quit their habit and develop vigilance and volunteerism within the communities,” Basilio said.

    The Smoke-Free Program implementers, she added, are scheduled to review and revisit the implementation of the program which also earned the province the Red Orchid Hall of Fame Award from the Department of Health.

    The award will be given to the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya at the Manila Hotel on June 23. The province is first to be given such award nationwide.

    “We are offering free services and medicines for those who want to quit smoking. We have our Smoking Cessation Centers and coordinators in the provincial and municipal levels,” Basilio said.

    Meanwhile, smoke-free advocates lauded Gov. Ruth Padilla for rejecting offers of the tobacco companies for the provision of programs, projects and any form of assistance through the Corporate Social Responsibility Program.

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