TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) here in the region is hoping that the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials will support on the anti-smoking campaign of the government.
Their agency’s anti-smoking campaign has involved the youth as among their targets reason why they are soliciting support from the young leaders, Charisse Daya, regional tobacco control program coordinator of the DOH, said.
“We can tap the SK officials through their president(s) for training of peer educators who will form an organization of youth against tobacco smoking,” Daya said.
The DOH, together with advocacy group Rights Network, conducted a forum at the Leyte National High School on June 11 highlighting the ill-effects on smoking and their appeal to local government units and private sector to support their campaign.
This call of the DOH immediately got the support from SK president Dean Aaron Lauron of Carigara, Leyte who said that he is willing to help on this campaign by ensuring that the anti-tobacco law will be implemented.
A self-confessed cigarette smoker, Lauron said that he started smoking when he was in high school and could consumed two packs of cigarette a day.
He, however, said that now that he is in college, he could only consumed a pack a day.
“This is a slow process. I’m doing it slowly,” Lauron said.
He said that while there is already an anti-smoking ordinance in several local government units, smoking remain to be prevalent on these areas as the regulation is not strictly implemented.
The SK leader said he would come up with a program targeting the youth in their town on the ill-effects on smoking.
“The law is there but the enforcement is not strong. On my part, we are much willing to help in achieving the goal of making our town as smoke free with the help of DOH to attain this making into reality,” Lauron said.
For his part, the president of the student council of LNHS, Jonathan Ramirez, issued an appeal to local government units and other government agencies and private institutions to ensure of a healthy and smoke-free environment for the youth.
“We believe that if we achieve in reducing the population of smokers in this city, this will result for a better and healthy environment for the youth. Smoking does not only affect our health, it also destroys our environment because cigarette filter is not easy to dissolve,” Ramirez said.
“That is why we are urging all agency concern to enforce the law for the youth’s welfare and to have a clean environment,” he added.
Responding to Ramirez, Daya said that the DOH is strengthening their partnership with the Department of Education in the implementation of policy for a smoking ban as it is noticed that there are still vendors who sells cigarettes near school campuses.