June 20, 2013 (4:21 PM)

4 min read


Life really is in Davao City.

The health and safety of the people of Davao City has always been a top priority.

Just a few weeks ago, a stricter smoking ban has been implemented around the city. Naturally, people reacted to the new ordinance, which was launched last May 31—the 11th anniversary of the city’s anti-smoking campaign.

The new ordinance strictly prohibits smoking of all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in places such as government and public vehicles, workplaces, enclosed and partially enclosed public places, establishments, buildings, and outdoor places. In other words, smoking can only be done in private residences, private vehicles, and designated smoking areas.

While some Ateneans, especially the smokers, find the new comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance too rigid, others welcome it with open arms.

“The smoking ban spells h-e-l-l for smokers like me,” Mabelle S. Lemen, currently taking a masters degree in Psychology, said.

“However, it is helping me minimize my dependence on nicotine, so I’m happy to comply. Maybe it’ll help me eventually stop and for that, I will be grateful!” she added.

There are also non-smoking people who consider the ordinance a beacon of hope, especially those who worry about the health of smokers.

“I’ve always wanted my father to stop smoking for a long, long time,” fourth year student Jill Raya shared.

“This policy can help him stop because he can only smoke in very limited areas,” she said.

Cigarettes contain addictive substances called nicotine, which, when sniffed or chewed, can enter the bloodstream and immediately flow to different parts of the body, such as the brain and the lungs. Those who smoke are familiar with the good sensation brought by nicotine. That is why most people find it difficult to quit. But the temporary euphoric feeling only covers up the real dangerous effects of smoking like cardiovascular and lung diseases.

““I imagine that it’s too restrictive for certain people out there,” Mass Communication student Chris Garcia said when asked about what he thinks of the new ordinance.

“But I understand that it may benefit those who do not want to be one of those so-called “second hand smokers”, and benefit smokers themselves, as it says in the ordinance itself that the city government is aware of the annual increase of tobacco-related mortality cases,” he added.

That is why Frederico Fuente, Family Medicine doctor of Southern Philippines Medical Center, agrees that the ordinance will eventually eliminate cases obtained through cigarette smoking, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Maraming na-oospital because of smoking. Pero dahil sa smoking ban the chances of getting Buerger’s disease and lung cancer will be reduced,” Dr. Fuente explained.

Even though it will take a great deal of effort for some smokers to adjust, they are willing to follow the policy. After all, nobody wants to risk being caught and suffer the consequences, which come in the form of penalties amounting to Php 1,000.00 to Php 5,000.00.

Aside from the penalties, violators can be imprisoned from a minimum of one to a maximum of four months. This can prevent people, especially the youth, from exposing themselves to different tobacco products.

Non-smokers will be more discouraged from attempting to smoke. However, some people believe that the policy only attracts more violators.

“I think those who do not smoke, won’t start. But those who do, they will find a way to do so. Especially because they have become addicted and it has become part of their daily routine,” shared e-cigarette smoker Clint.

It’s true that desiring for something that is forbidden only amplifies the desire for it. But in the long run, people must keep in mind that there is no better way to live a healthy life than to get rid of the things that help degrade its quality.

After all, Life is here, so Davao City should be a place worth living in.

End the silence of the gagged!

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