Assistant City Health Officer Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes stressed the importance of strengthening convergence for the attainment of a 100 percent smoke- free Baguio to the more than 200 participants from the different health district centers, city barangays and other community stakeholders.
The participants were presented with an overview of the Global Tobacco Epidemic from the World Health Organization (WHO), and briefing on the National Tobacco Control Program of the Department of Health.
They were also oriented on the different smoke – free initiatives and strategies in the city.
City Ordinance No. 24 series of 2017, Baguio’s comprehensive anti - smoking ordinance, is very much alive. Since its implementation, the prevalence rate of smoking was reduced by half or from 34 percent to 17 percent, Brillantes said.
It is comprehensive that it includes smoke free environment; access restriction; comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; smoke cessation; e cigarette and other tobacco products included, and no deal with tobacco industry policy, she added.
There were also sharing of good practices from some barangays that have excellent tobacco control programs in terms of policy, advocacy, ownership, compliance and monitoring/enforcement.
Councilor Jernie Jett Nisay of Balanga, Bataan also shared their excellent tobacco control experience.
WHO Tobacco -Free Initiative Officer Dr. Florante Trinidad lauded the Comprehensive Smoke Free Ordinance of Baguio, outlining that it protects the people in the city as they are now covered by at least four MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement.
MPOWER is a package of six proven policies to fight the tobacco epidemic, namely Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn about the dangers of tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and Raise taxes on tobacco.
Trinidad shared that in the Western Pacific Region, one in every four people or around 485 million people are covered by at least one best practice tobacco control measure with 24 countries (including the Philippines) already adopting or implementing (at least 1) the WHO MPOWER measures. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)