MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signing of the executive order number 26 emphasizes on important truths about smoking as the country joins celebration of the World No Tobacco Day for a healthier nation.
“The first of these truths that the President tells us is that the often glossed over statements that “Smoking Kills” and “Secondhand Smoke Kills” are true; that they have been unequivocally established by scientific evidence. No amount of lobbying or claims by the tobacco industry could change these facts,” said Allan Chester, a legal researcher from the group Health Justice Philippines during a press conference in Max’s Restaurant in Quezon City
He said that another truth which the EO evidently tells us is that no one has a right to smoke.
“That no one has a license to smoke, in as much the same way that no one has a license to kill. There is no right to smoke in as much the same way that the tobacco industry has no vested right to peddle a cheap and widely available product created to destroy lives, because quoting the Executive Order itself, “public health takes precedence over any commercial or business interest,” he added.
As third truth reflective of the EO was the emphasis on the right to health which he said was fundamental.
“Every Filipino has the right to breathe clean air: air that is free from cancer-causing chemicals, irritants, and pollution.
In citing the 4th truth, he said that under the EO, the President wants to tell also that designated smoking areas are not mandatory; that designated smoking areas can be completely dispensed with so that smoking is prohibited altogether.
“Restaurant operators, business owners, and managers of retail establishments can all decide against putting up these designated smoking areas, and in so doing, not abet or tolerate the silent murder of our fellow Filipinos. The truth is: it is our choice to save lives ” he said.
Lastly, he said that another truth that the President tries to tell smokers, victims of smoking and youth is that smoking is not just a public health problem but also an economic problem; a human development problem; and also a social justice problem. LSJ/PNA-northboundasia.com