In observance of the month of June as National No Smoking Month, the Department of Education (DepEd) together with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Local Government of Pasig reminded school officials, teachers, and students at the Rizal National High School in Pasig City of the dangers of tobacco use and that schools all over the country should be strictly 100% smoke-free.
DOH Secretary Jannete Loreto-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 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,” Secretary Garin added.
This year’s theme is Graphic Health Warnings (GHWs): Full Blast Na Sa November! Alamin. Unawain. Bantayan Natin. The GHWs Law requires all tobacco products manufactured and for sale in the Philippines to carry GHWs. DepEd Order No. 98 s. 2016 (2016 No Smoking Month Celebration) mandates the use of GHWs template to educate kids 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,” said Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs, Alberto Muyot.
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 guest and visitors.