By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte warned vape or e-cigarette users in the city to follow strictly the local ordinance that regulates the use of e-cigarettes in public places to avoid appropriate sanctions.
Belmonte said that the City Ordinance 2737-2018 aims to “fully protect the health and welfare of QC residents while maintaining the interest of all stakeholders, including the smokers.”
“This ordinance is for the health of the general public, especially the children and the elderly who should not be exposed to these kinds of substances. Basically, this ordinance prohibits anyone to use electronic cigarettes in enclosed places where other people can be exposed to these e-cigarettes,” said Belmonte.
Some of the areas where e-cigarette smoking is prohibited include places of worship, hospitals and health centers, public conveyances, government offices, and educational or recreational facilities intended for minors.
Ordinance 2737 also regulates the advertisement and promotion of electronic cigarettes through several restrictions.
For instance, advertisements should not be aimed at minors, ads should depict people who appear to be 25 years old and above, and it should not show the actual use of cigarettes, among others.
The said ordinance punishes violators of public smoking with a P500 to P1,000 fine for the first offense, P1,000 to P2,500 fine for the second offense, and P2,500 to P5,000 for the third offense, with possible revocation of permit and licenses for business establishments.
Belmonte also reminded residents of the hazards of inhalation of second hand smoke as it was proven to be more harmful and deadly than the actual use or puffing of cigarettes.
“The DOH [Department of Health] already said that there is no research yet that shows e-cigarettes are safe for long-term use though it was said that they are generally safer. We still have to be careful so this ordinance is a measure to avoid risks especially for non-smokers,” she concluded.