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Pres. Duterte pressed to sign EO against smoking in public places

MANILA, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) on Sunday urged President Rodrigo R. Duterte to also address the issue on cigarette smoking after its six months of war on illegal drugs.

"It is imperative for Duterte to also take strides in stopping more and more Filipinos from getting addicted to smoking cigarettes,” said NVAP president Emer Rojas.

Rojas said that first-time smokers turn into chain smokers because tobacco is addictive.

"Nearly 17.3 million Filipinos are currently addicted to smoking already," the cancer survivor who admitted that he used to be a chain smoker.

He said it is high time that this kind of addiction be curbed by the government in a similar way that it endeavors to stop the drug menace.

In comparison, he said that while illegal drugs can cause heart disease, respiratory issues, and liver disease among others, similarly avoidable illnesses can also be caused by cigarette smoking.

He noted that some of the smoking-related diseases are lung cancer, heart ailments, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, tuberculosis, and stroke.

In stopping that, he said the best way to do that was to convince Duterte to finally sign the Executive Order (EO) that will prohibit smoking in all public places.

"We really need to stop the premature death of Filipinos due to tobacco addiction. Like any other addiction, this must be reduced or totally prevented," said Rojas.

Data shows that almost 10 Filipinos die every hour due to smoking-related diseases.

"We are calling on President Duterte to finally make a stand for Filipinos against the perennial lies of the tobacco companies by signing the much-awaited EO for a smoke-free Philippines," he said.

He said that since it is an open knowledge that Duterte suffers Buerger’s disease, an ailment attributed to smoking where blood does not freely flow in extremities like fingers and feet.

"We should stop listening to the lies propagated by tobacco poster advertisements that cigarette smoking is cool and instead make a firm stand on protecting public health against cigarette smoking as well as second-hand smoke," added Rojas.

Under the EO, the government is expected to impose a ban on smoking in all public spaces, including parks, bus stations, inside vehicles, and even in designated indoor smoking areas such as in airport lounges and restaurants.

Smokers are only allowed to puff outside of buildings in public places away from people.

In October, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial bared that Duterte was set to sign the EO banning smoking in public places.

Currently, the Health chief said the draft EO is already with the Office of the President and awaiting his signature the soonest.(PNA)
JBP/LSJ

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