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Thursday, June 13, 2024

MMDA involves youth in anti-smoking campaign

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is taking a proactive approach to combat smoking in public places, and it involves youth leaders in the campaign.

The agency has started using public parks as venues for a series of events with the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) Federation in Metro Manila.

The project aimed at increasing the awareness of the youth on health and safety.

“Our youth must be provided with healthy surroundings. Public parks must be conducive for activities that would strengthen our children’s bodies and protect them against any danger,” said MMDA chairman Romando Artes.

Artes said the MMDA and the 17 local government units in the National Capital Region have agreed to utilize the parks under the agency’s Adopt-A-Park program. He added these parks will be used not only for leisure and relaxation but for helping combat climate change and air pollution as well.

The SK Federation has identified several advocacy activities to be conducted this month, including seminars, a song-making contest, a book trade, a clean-up drive, focus group discussions, Pinoy games, planting, and social media party.

The MMDA thanked the Department of Interior and Local Government, National Youth Commission, Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and Vital Strategies and Action on Smoking and Health for their support and assistance in the project.

Meanwhile, public health advocates are urging for wider smoke and vape-free spaces to safeguard the public, especially children, from secondhand smoke.

HealthJustice Philippines and its partner organizations are pushing for a law that requires a 100% smoke and vape-free environment in indoor public places, workplaces, outdoor public places, and public transportation.

The groups said the existing laws, such as Executive Order 106 and Republic Act No. 11900 or the Vape Law, merely ban the use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and vapes, in indoor public spaces or conveyances.

But the establishment of Designated Smoking and Vaping Areas in these places is allowed, which weakens the protection offered to the public.

HealthJustice’s legal consultant Benedict Nisperos underscores the importance of adopting stringent and comprehensive smoke and vape-free legislation in the Philippines to combat the global trend of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that children exposed to secondhand smoke frequently experience respiratory problems and are more susceptible to acute respiratory infections.

The World Health Organization reports that 1.3 million deaths annually are linked to secondhand smoke, with approximately 51,000 being children and adolescents under 20 years old.


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