TACLOBAN CITY- A cause-oriented group has urged the city government here to enforce its ordinance banning the selling of cigarettes within 100 meters from schools and public playgrounds.
“(The)City Hall should enforce the law prohibiting stores from selling cigarettes if they are located near schools and areas that minors regularly visit,” said Vince Basiano of the Rural Poor Institute for Land and Human Rights Services, Inc. (Rights Inc.) for Tacloban.
“Children should be insulated from the dangers of tobacco as much as possible so that they won’t be exposed to the highly addictive nature of nicotine and take up dangerous habit of smoking,” he added.
Basiano said they have observed that cigarettes and other tobacco products continue to be freely sold by stores in the city despite being located near schools and places that children frequent.
“Moreover, smokers continue to light up in public places without regard for the environment and the health of their fellow residents,” he said.
Meanwhile, City Vice Mayor Jerry “Sambo” Yaokasin said that concerted effort is needed to educate the public regarding the ill effects of smoking to health.
“We have asked the Traffic Operation Management Enforcement and Control Office (Tomeco) to remove billboards of cigarette brands from sarisari stores,” Yaokasin said in an interview.
According to Cynthia Esquillo, heads of Rights’ anti-tobacco advocacy program, the full implementation of the said ordinance “will protect the health of its children and enhance the reputation of the city as a child-friendly city.”
Rights cited Tacloban City Ordinance No. 2009-10-160 which was enacted to “protect the populace from hazardous products and promote the right to health and instill health consciousness among them.”
Section 11 of the ordinance, which was passed in March 2009, also prohibits “the sale, distribution, or promotion of tobacco products is prohibited within one hundred meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground, or other facility frequented particularly by minors.”
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) regional official urged local government units to attain smoke-free environments.