Smoke-free PH: Why Should We Support It?
Patricia Aleckzandra | BravoFilipino
News about President Rodrigo Duterte signing an executive order (EO) prohibiting smoking in public places spread like wildfire in the internet. According to Agricultural Secretary Manny Piñol last March 6, the president will be signing the EO patterned from Davao City’s cigarette ban soon. The Philippines’ version of the smoking ban aims to make the country a “100% smoke-free in public places” for the safety of everyone else. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance reported in 2014 that around one-third of the adult population smokes in the Philippines. While a lot of non-smokers rejoiced when the news came out, there are still some who will need more time to practice controlling their smoking habits. Despite the benefits the EO offers, there are still some (mostly, smokers) who are hesitant about it. It is time to rethink before lighting up another cigarette. Here are some of the reasons to support the smoking ban in the Philippines.
Smoking is considered as a major cause of diseases that greatly affects the cardiovascular and respiratory system. For a long time, tobacco’s harmful effects have been proven by researchers and doctors worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) reported that tobacco smoking is accountable for the 10% or six million deaths globally. Tobacco use is described as “the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide” by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even cardiologist and supporter of SinTax law Dr. Tony Leachon emphasized that tobacco kills more people than illegal drugs.
Secondhand Smoking is More Dangerous
One of the main reasons for the filing the EO is to protect people from secondhand smoke. Of the six million deaths caused by tobacco smoking, 600,000 of it occurs in non-smokers due to secondhand smoking. Even if a person has not smoked in his/her entire life, they are still prone to diseases that firsthand smokers can have. Look at it like this: you are putting a 5-year-old’s health at risk like how you put yours every time you smoke.
You can prevent this by building a smoke-free environment where everyone is protected from the the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Litter of cigarette butts is responsible for millions of pieces of trash every year. This may not be the primary argument of the smoking ban, but it will not be a big issue if smokers dispose their waste properly which they don’t. Through this smoking ban, there will be less trash in public places that detract a location’s aesthetic beauty.
Speaking of litter reduction, did you know that 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts end up as toxic trash each year? Cigarette butts aren’t mere trash, but causes environmental problems too. According to the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), “cigarette butts have been the single most recovered item since collection began.” Filters have been found in stomachs of different marine creatures and birds. Since cigarettes are made out of cellulose acetate, it will not be digested by animals. This is just one fact why cigarettes are harmful not only to one’s health but to the environment as well.
Cigarettes are toxic, non-biodegradable, waste that creates environmental health risks and economic burden. This smoking ban will not only benefit people but also Earth.
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