Smokers told to quit

AN ICAST personnel (right) issues a citation ticket to a smoker (left, face obscured for privacy reasons) caught puffing cigarette in downtown Iloilo City. (ICAST photo)

THE Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) and Department of Health (DOH) 6 have encouraged the public to stop smoking for the habit has bad effects to the body.

City Health Officer Dr. Bernard Caspe and DOH-6 Senior Health Program Officer John Richard Lapascua made the call in line with the celebration of National No Smoking Month this June per Proclamation No. 183 series of 1993 to raise awareness on the ill-effects of cigarette smoking.

“Smoking has no benefit to the body. You will just get various diseases or cancer from head to foot. Better yet, instead of buying cigarette, buy the things that your family needs because if you get hospitalized due to smoking, it will cause you more trouble,” Caspe said.

He said the CHO has lobbied to the city council to pass an ordinance with regard to hiring of non-smokers in the workplace.

“We want to have preference of non-smokers when choosing employees, but we are not saying that smokers will not be accepted. And maybe those who smoke should undergo our counseling and cessation clinic,” Caspe said.

CHO likewise eyed barangays to be smoke-free.

“Smoke-free barangay means that those who buy from the store should only lit their cigarette at their backyard where there are no other people around. They should not also smoke inside the house,” Caspe said.

He stressed that people affected with second-hand smoke could also get the same diseases of smokers.

Lapascua said that out of 10 leading causes of mortality in Western Visayas, four are tobacco-related lung diseases which are pneumonia, malignant neoplasm or cancerous tumor, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“We would like to encourage smokers to stop smoking because it has so many ill effects to your body. I don’t know what smokers feel every time they smoke, maybe it was convenient for them, but these feelings are just temporary because once you start smoking, it would be hard for you to get out of it,” Lapascua said.

Lapascua also encouraged smokers to visit the city’s cessation clinic at second floor of City Hall.

“I would like to congratulate Iloilo City for being awarded in the World No Tobacco Day Awards by the World Health Organization. Iloilo City has been one of the model Local Government Units (LGUs) not only in Region 6 but in other regions as well. We hope that other LGUs will also emulate the efforts of Iloilo City Government on tobacco control,” Lapascua said.

Iloilo City is the only awardee from Philippines for its significant contributions to tobacco control. (PIO)