December 7, 2023

A 2022 survey on tobacco use among residents aged 15 years old and above in the city had produced both good and bad news.
The good news: Tobacco use prevalence sharply decreased from 35.4 percent in 2014 to 13. 1 percent for both male and female; daily or hardcore smoking prevalence also declined from 31 to 8.9 percent; and incidence of cigarettes bought from street vendors went down to zero percent.
Second-hand smoke exposure also significantly went down in government buildings from 11.1 to 4.3 percent; restaurants from 31 to 6.7 percent; and in public transport from 26 to 11 percent.
The bad news: E-cigarette use like vape went up dramatically from 1.5 percent in 2019 to 5.1 percent in 2022 for a more than 300 percent increase while the prevalence of the use of smokeless tobacco like betel nut or moma also shot up from 1.1 in 2014 to 3.5 percent in 2022, also a 300 percent hike.
The results of the 2022 Baguio Adult Tobacco Survey were reported by Medical Officer IV Nelson Hora of the City Health Services Office which conducted the study jointly with the St. Louis University School of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine first in 2014, then in 2016, 2019, and in 2022.
The increase in e-cigarette use was prevalent among the 15 to 24 age group which Tobacco Control Officer Donnabel Panes said is brought about by the misconception that vape use is a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, which she said is not true since vape is also harmful and also contains the harmful nicotine substance.
The survey method was developed by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control to monitor tobacco use and other components of how the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, the Smoke-Free Baguio City Ordinance, and other laws on tobacco are being implemented.
There were 880 respondents, all Baguio residents 15 years old and above, chosen through systematic household sampling from 16 barangays representing the catchment population covered by the city’s 16 health centers.
Hora said tobacco use control is a main health strategy considering it is a major preventable risk factor for all the non-communicable diseases identified as the top causes of mortality in the city and even other infectious diseases afflicting the city’s populace. – Aileen P. Refuerzo