Smoking banned in public schools

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THE Department of Education (DepEd) ordered public school officials to strictly prohibit smoking inside their campuses.

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The education department and the Department of Health (DOH) reminded school officials, teachers, and students of the dangers of tobacco use. They said schools all over the country should be 100 percent smoke-free.

Outgoing Health Secretary Janette Garin explained that studies have shown that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood and fall prey to being “replacement smokers” of the tobacco industry. Hence, she called on students, as well as the rest of the young population, to never start smoking.

“For those of you who have unfortunately started, I urge you to quit immediately. Professional help is available to those who want to quit. Not smoking, or quitting smoking, greatly reduces our risk for disease and early death. You also protect the health of others by preventing exposure to secondhand smoke,” Garin said.

DepEd Order No. 98 Series of 2016 (2016 No Smoking Month Celebration) mandates the use of graphic health warnings to educate children on the dangers of smoking. They are also included in relevant subjects under the K-to-12 curriculum to educate the students on the ill effects of tobacco use.

“What we emphasize at DepEd is prevention. This is why we integrate anti-smoking and other risky behaviors in the curriculum. We make sure that we campaign it at schools. We find ways to prevent them from even catching the habit or if ever they already started smoking, we help them to stop by informing them and educating them on the bad effects of smoking,” DepEd undersecretary for legal and legislative affairs Alberto Muyot said.

On June 27, all public and private elementary and secondary schools are encouraged to organize educational and social activities to spread information on the harmful effects of tobacco use, among its students, teaching and non-teaching personnel, and other stakeholders such as parents, school guests and visitors.

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