The Department of Health (DOH), in observance of June as the National No Smoking Month, strongly encouraged the youth to stay in control and to keep away from tobacco.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial emphasized that there can be no stronger argument on the harmful effects of smoking than on the young population. Based on the 2015 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, overall current tobacco users among students of age group 13-15 years increased to 16% from 13.7% in 2011.
“Studies have shown that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood and fall prey to being ‘replacement smokers’ of the tobacco industry. This creates a vicious cycle of young tobacco users and unhealthy future adult population,” Secretary Ubial explained.
The health chief said that the department is confident that the youth knows how and when to say ‘no’ to pressure.
“We know our youth are in control. A single puff may hook you for the rest of your life and chain you to various diseases. Not to mention the several ugly things smoking can do to your youthful bodies – bad breath, stained teeth, early wrinkles, and poor vision. By the time you reach adulthood, tobacco will take its toll on you – stroke and heart diseases, lung diseases, and cancer in almost anywhere in your body. Those are risks you would not be happy to be taking,” Secretary Ubial warned the youth.
Secretary Ubial added that just recently, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Executive Order No. 26 or the Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-free Environments in Enclosed and Public Places. The order aims to provide for the further protection of Filipinos, specially the youth, from the exposure of tobacco smoke nationwide.
It prohibits everyone to smoke in public places and public conveyances such as schools, workplaces, sidewalks and even in jeepneys, buses, and tricycles. Minors are not allowed to smoke, to buy, or to be sold tobacco products. Likewise, they are prohibited to be ordered or compelled to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco products.
The DOH is set to develop the order’s implementing guidelines.
Meanwhile, the DOH stresses that all tobacco products – not just cigarettes – pose its consumers and their families, friends, and neighbors to risks for diseases and early death.