LA UNION CITY IMPLEMENTS TIGHTER SMOKING BAN

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – This city has started implementing a firmer policy against public smoking adding to a growing number of local governments in La Union that eyes smoke-free zones.

Last December 19, City Ordinance No. 2014-02 or the smoke-free ordinance took effect repealing a similar anti-smoke ordinance 2011-05 which was first implemented in 2011.

The new ordinance bans vaping or inhaling electronic cigarettes and similar devices in public places and advertisement of public products. A stiffer penalty of P1,000 is imposed on violators instead of P500
under the old policy.

The more comprehensive 12-page ordinance is also part of the city’s bid to the much- coveted Red Orchid Award which is given by the Department of Health to 100 percent tobacco-free environments.

The city government was given the White Orchid Award in 2012 and 2014 and the Pink Orchid Award in 2013 following the implementation of the original anti-smoking law.

The White and Pink Orchid awards are given to LGUs, government offices and hospitals which are 75 percent to 89 percent smoke-free.

Other La Union local governments that have strong anti-smoking campaigns include Bauang and San Gabriel towns.

The new ordinance retains the old provisions which imposes a P5,000 fine to establishments and individuals selling tobacco products.

Dino Duclayan, anti-smoking coordinator from the City Health Office here, said the anti-smoking ordinances are aimed at safeguarding the health of all residents and workers in the city, both smokers and
non-smokers.

“The smoke-free legislation seeks to protect non-smokers of the harmful effects of tobacco products, to keep the minors from being initiated to cigarette smoking and tobacco use and to instill health consciousness among smokers,” Duclayan said.

He said the new law complements the city’s smoke cessation program.”Under the program, all violators will be given lectures on
anti-smoking and encourage them to quit smoking. They can also be referred to the smoke cessation clinic at Ilocos Training and Medical Center here to avail of guidance and counselling,” Duclayan added.

Moreover, a task force headed by the city health officer was created to aid in the implementation, enforcement and monitoring of the smoke-free ordinance.

Other members include the mayor, chair of the committee on health and wellness of the city council, health education and promotion officer, legal officer, information officer, building officer, police personnel, among others.

As of December 30 last year, three individuals have been found violating the ordinance two of whom are ordinary citizens found
smoking at the central business district and a jeepney driver.

A 100-day countdown to a smoke-free city was launched at the City Hall on September 10 when Mayor Pablo C. Ortega solicited the support and cooperation of the different stakeholders in achieving the objectives of the new ordinance. MCA/JNPD/PIA-1 La Union / northboundasia.com