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Smoking Ban in Iloilo
« on: June 01, 2019, 12:02:44 PM »
ILOILO CITY -- For its outstanding performance in tobacco control, this city has been named as one of the five recipients of the "World No Tobacco Day" Awards presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) - Western Pacific Region.

The WHO and its global partners celebrated "World No Tobacco Day" on Friday to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engage stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.

Iñigo Garingalao, Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) director, attributed the recognition to the City Health Office and the city government’s effort and programs on tobacco control.

He said WHO lauded the city’s efforts in sustaining the anti-smoking campaign and in implementing apprehension with corresponding education.

“Through the years, we had proven that we did our best to implement this campaign. We have leveled up because we know it’s about health. This is significant because we balance the fast development of Iloilo with the health of the constituents,” Garingalao said in an interview.

He also regarded the distinction as a challenge to intensify this city’s efforts on tobacco control.

“With the recognition, we need to double our efforts in a way that we will maintain our usual efforts,” he said.
He also plans to bring the anti-smoking campaign down to the village level.

The WHO particularly recognized the efforts of this city in cessation services and the protection of minors.

"The Iloilo city government recently ran an intensive campaign encouraging smokers to quit with the help of the city’s 'Quitline' and cessation services at health centers. The government prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors, as well as near schools and other places frequented by minors. It has also enacted bans on vaping and shisha and on establishing designated smoking areas,” the organization said in a press release.

It also cited the additional tax introduced for the sale of cigarettes, alongside increased penalties for violations. The implementation of a "Non-Smoker Preferential Policy" in the hiring of city government employees also gained WHO’s appreciation.

“I’m delighted to see the strong action our awardees are taking to control tobacco – from higher taxes to quit programs to smoke-free areas. The results of their activities are even more encouraging: smoking rates are decreasing in many of these places, as are diseases caused by tobacco, such as lung cancer,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

Aside from Iloilo City, the Xi’an Municipal People’s Government in China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Guam Non-Communicable Disease Consortium Tobacco Control Action Team, and Niue Ministry of Social Services also received the same award. (PNA)

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