February 26, 2024

The city government’s operations against violators of the Smoke-Free Ordinance are continuing.

The Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force said from January to September this year, 1,743 apprehensions have been recorded.

Of the total, 946 were individuals and 796 were establishments, most of which had multiple violations.

The task force also noted an increase in the number of teenagers being caught vaping in public.

The Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), a member of the task force, has recorded a total of 376 vaping apprehensions from January to Nov. 16.

POSD Head Enforcer Daryll Longid said they have been apprehending vapers, mostly teenagers, in public places.

Violators who are 18 years old and above are being admonished and issued citation tickets while their vape units are confiscated.

Minors on the other hand are also being issued citation tickets and handed over to the Women’s and Children’s Protection Desk for further processing.

The task force reported while the prevalence of smoking had decreased in the past two years, the incidence of vape use among the youth in the city had spiraled.

In fact, the City Health Services Office had affirmed there is already an ongoing vape use epidemic in the city due to the rapidly increasing use of vape and e-cigarettes notably among youths aged 14 to 18.

“The increase of vape use among the youth can be mostly attributed to the aggressive marketing campaign of the vape industry and its community where a lot of deception is employed, which keeps the public grossly misinformed about the true ill effects of electronic nicotine/non-nicotine delivery systems more popularly known as vape,” Longid said.

“Contrary to the misinformation being peddled, vape is more dangerous than the traditional cigarette because it is far more convenient to use; easily concealed; can be discreetly used anywhere; it tastes and smells exceptionally better than its traditional counterpart; and to a certain extent, it is more economical than cigarettes.”

“The compounding result due to the greater incidence of its use makes vape more dangerous than your traditional cigarette. Nonetheless, let’s not lose sight of the fact that both vape and cigarettes can kill and both vices should be suppressed,” Longid said.

Ordinance 34-2017 or the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products in public places. – Aileen P. Refuerzo