SMOKING ON THE RISE. The Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) issues citation tickets to violators of the city’s Anti-Smoking/Vaping Ordinance. ICAST head Iñigo Garingalao says on Monday (Nov. 21, 2022) vaping is becoming a fad mostly among people 18 to 28 years old. (Photo courtesy of Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force)

ILOILO CITY – The Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) said vaping or using electronic cigarettes propagates and not help gradually stop smoking.

ICAST Executive Director Iñigo Garingalao, in an interview on Monday, said their enforcement of the city’s Anti-Smoking Ordinance showed an increased apprehension of both users of conventional and electronic cigarettes.

In terms of vaping, the Philippine National Police and ICAST agents apprehended and issued citation tickets to 433 violators from May to October this year, while there were only 98 violators during the same period last year.

For conventional cigarettes, there were 5,258 violators from May to October this year versus the 3,933 violators in the same period last year.

Garingalao said that while conventional cigarettes are being used by all ages, the age group that usually indulges in vaping is usually 18 to 28 years old.

“At that age, they are not much into conventional cigarette. So it (vape) is becoming a fad and is becoming another way to take in nicotine into one’s body. They are on the path or journey of their lives to become smokers,” he said.

By the time they reach 50 years old, they will no longer be productive if they will be hit by the ill-effects of their vice.

Garingalao said the campaign against smoking should get support down to the barangay level since the ICAST has limited personnel.

Schools are also enjoined to throw their support by giving advise to their students.

Individuals who are caught violating the city’s anti-smoking/vaping ordinance are fined PHP1,500 on first offense, PHP2,000 on the second offense and PHP5,000 on the third and succeeding offenses.

Establishments will have to face administrative fines that come with suspension or permits or closure. (PNA)