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Manila City Council approves smoking ban in all local government facilities

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By Jaimie Rose R. Aberia

An ordinance that bans smoking at all public buildings, facilities, and establishments “owned, used, or controlled or administered by the city government of Manila” was approved unanimously by the city council.

A smoker lights a cigarette along EDSA in Quezon City, MArch 7, 2017. President Duterte will sign an Executive ORder that prohibits smoking in public areas nationwide. (Mark Balmores)

(Credits: Mark Balmores | Manila Bulletin)

Ordinance No. 7812 or the “Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City Government of Manila,” authored by Councilor Casimiro Sison, is intended “to set an example to the private sector in promoting a smoke-free environment and to safeguard the health of the public using such establishment from the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco consumption.”

“I think this is really to show a good example on the part of the city, that we are really serious about the prohibition (on smoking), strictly, this is a law na para bang talagang inuumpisahan niya ‘yung mga sarili nating building, mga government facilities,” Sison said.

The new anti-smoking law supports the implementation of the old law, Ordinance No. 7748 that has been in effect since 1991, which prohibits smoking in all enclosed spaces and establishments such as bars, restaurants, public theatres, and malls; factories and plants, public utility vehicles, classrooms and school grounds, hospitals and clinics, and markets, among others.

Under the recently passed ordinance, apprehended violators will be fined P2,000 and/or one-day imprisonment or both for the first offense; P3,000 and two-day prison term for the second; and P5,000 and/or three-day imprisonment or both for the third offense — a far cry from the measly P300 fine and a maximum of two-day imprisonment mandated in the 1991 ordinance.

The ordinance also prohibits the mere possession of any tobacco products, including VAPE devices, “whether the smoke is being actively inhaled or exhaled.”

The smoking ban in city government buildings is also not limited inside the buildings but also within the compound, and within 100 meters from such city government properties, according to the new ordinance.

For those who cannot control the unhealthy habit, the ordinance mandates the establishment of smoking areas outside each city government building provided it is not less than 10 meters away from where people pass or congregate and with visible “Smoking Area” and “Minors Not Allowed” signage complete with graphic health warnings.

Approved in an en banc session on March 30, Ordinance No. 7812 will take effect 15 days after its publication in major newspapers.

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  • GMAspiras

    Filipinos should be warned that second hand smoke coming from the cigarette smokers are more deadly than the smoke that the smokers are inhaling.

    • According to the report in Nicotine and Tobacco Research,11 radioactivity in tobacco comes from two sources: the atmosphere and uptake through soil rich in calcium phosphate fertilizer contaminated with polonium phosphates. In 1995, the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research12 stated that:

      “It has been known for many years that phosphate fertilizer ore contains 50~150 parts per million (ppm) of natural Uranium, and hence its radioactive decay products [i.e. polonium and radon], when compared to most other soil and rocks – which average 1 or 2 ppm.”

      Phosphate Fertilizers Also Used in GMO Agriculture

      Phosphate fertilizers linked to lung cancer in smokers, via the route of inhaling the smoke from contaminated tobacco leaves, are also used on food crops. Granted, food-borne polonium may be absorbed and react differently in your body than that in tobacco smoke.

  • Common, Please do research. Cancer is caused due to Fertilizers not due to Tobacco leaves.

    Polonium-210—a highly radioactive element that releases alpha particles as it decays. It’s also chemically toxic.

    While naturally present in small amounts in the environment, one of the primary sources of exposure is via calcium phosphate fertilizers, used on tobacco fields and food crops respectively.

    The Hidden Threat of Radioactive Fertilizer Contamination

    Research suggests that it’s the radiation from these fertilizers that appear to cause the most lung damage, and are the primary cause of cancer in smokers.3, 4, 5 In fact, polonium is the only component of cigarette smoke shown to produce cancer in laboratory animals.6 As noted in a 2009 study:

    “Acid wash was discovered in 1980 to be highly effectively in removing polonium-210 from the tobacco leaves; however, the industry avoided its use for concerns that acid media would ionize nicotine converting it into a poorly absorbable form into the brain of smokers thus depriving them of the much sought after instant ‘nicotine kick’ sensation,” the researchers noted.

    • 594Reptilian

      Not accurate. Lung cancer has been directly linked to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PCAH) that are in cigarette smoke. Same substances are found in charred (overcooked) barbecued food. Anything burning, not just tobacco leaves, will cause cancer (not limited to the lungs).