Baguio health authorities focus on youth in anti-smoking drive

By Liza Agoot

June 14, 2024, 7:09 pm

<p><em>PNA file photo </em></p>

PNA file photo 

BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities want to focus its anti-smoking initiatives on the youth due to the widespread use of vape in their age bracket.

Cecille Agpawa, program manager of Transcending Institutions and Communities Inc. which provides technical assistance to the city government, and a member of the Local Health Board and the Smoke-Free Baguio, Benguet, and Kalinga, attributed the widespread use of vape to its cheaper cost and more varied flavors.

“We are seeing boldness among the youth who use vape. Even in classrooms, they hide and use their vapes,” she told the Philippine News Agency.

Aside from vaping, she said the youth are vulnerable to alcohol intake, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

Agpawa said the city’s anti-smoking drive started with an ordinance on no smoking in public places in 2017, which imposes a fine of PHP1,000 to PHP3,000 for the first to third offense.

The penalty ranges from PHP2,000 to PHP5,000 for establishments that allow smoking despite lacking an approved smoking area.

A smoking area is an outdoor area within the compound of the establishment, without roofing, located about 10 meters from the ingress or egress of an establishment, and has been assessed and approved by the Task Force and the Health Services Office.

Establishments located within a 100-meter perimeter radius of a school and health offices are banned from selling cigarettes or vapes.

Data showed that in the first quarter of 2023 alone, the city government collected PHP13.18 million in fines for violating the anti-smoking ordinance. (PNA)