Smokers told to quit for their families’ sake

BAGUIO CITY – “If you love your family, relatives and friends, you should quit smoking cigarettes or vaping because second- or even third-hand smoke can damage their health”.
This was the emphatic challenge of re-elected city councilor Joel Alangsab during the unveiling of a “No Smoking and Vaping” signage Tuesday at the Hilltop market waiting shed with re-elected Rep. Mark Go, other local government, health, police, barangay officials and members of the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force (SFBTF).
Seven similar signages will also be put up in the city’s parks including four larger signages along the major entryways to the Summer Capital to remind visitors that Baguio is a “smoke-free city”, according to Cecille Agpawa of the SFBTF.
Alangsab revealed that his beloved father died of a tobacco-related disease that discouraged him from acquiring the deadly smoking habit. The sad event also inspired the alderman to be the principal author of the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance despite alleged opposition from several tobacco companies and vaping groups, even up to now.
He points out that the Summer Capital’s anti-smoking ordinance adopted in 2017 is unique from the national ordinance since the local measure also prohibits and penalizes vaping or smoking e-cigarettes.
The city ordinance prohibits the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes/e-cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places, imposing penalties, and providing funds thereof.
If caught smoking or vaping, penalties are P1,000 fine for first offense; P2,000, second; and 3,000, third offense. Penalties for sales/access restriction, ads and promotion are P2,000, first offense; P3,000, second; and P5,000, third offense.
Subsequent offenses are punishable by fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or both at the court’s discretion and suspension or revocation of business license or permit, if applicable.
The task force is currently chaired by outgoing Mayor Mauricio Domogan with city health officer Rowena Galpo as co-chair and action officer. Members include representatives from various concerned government offices and agencies, Department of Education, Baguio City Police Office, non-government organizations, barangays, academe and other sectors.**gaby keith

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