EVERY year, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases caused by cigarette smoking claim the lives of millions of people, including Filipinos, throughout the world.
In the Philippines, the Duterte administration was reported to be planning to ban cigarette smoking not only in government offices and agencies but also in all public places.
Many Filipinos fear that these diseases may kill more people if concerned government authorities fail or refuse to support the national government’s anti-smoking drive.
Of course, the fear is valid considering the mushrooming number of cigarette smokers in this poverty-stricken Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people.
This is the problem that the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte faces. But there is enough ground of optimism.
In fact, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has expressed full support for the Duterte government’s “Smoke-Free Philippines” program.
Reports said that Duterte is expected to issue an executive order banning smoking in all public places across this manpower-exporting and natural resources-rich country.
The CSC has been a staunch supporter of tobacco control policies that aim to eliminate cigarette smoking in the workplace.
It will be recalled that the CSC issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 17, series of 2009, on the “Smoking Prohibition Based on 100% Smoke-Free Policy.”
The circular prohibits smoking in or on the premises, buildings and grounds of government agencies providing health, education and/or social welfare development services.
People found guilty of violating the memorandum-circular will be subjected to disciplinary action.
However, in the view of many sectors, the circular doesn’t seem to achieve its objective of eliminating cigarette smoking in the country.
Thus, for the sake of the Filipino people, we now urge Malacañang to ban smoking in all public places nationwide.