December 10, 2022

Private groups and the city government of Baguio have intensified the campaign against smoking by mounting an event in which they presented the number of Filipinos dying daily of tobacco-related diseases.
In a program held at the Malcolm Square on April 21, Imagine Law and the city government, in partnership with other private groups and city hospitals, have installed 321 pairs of slippers “to commemorate the lives lost daily due to smoking and called on stakeholders to continue supporting the efforts done to control tobacco use.
Imagine Law Executive Director Sophia San Luis said the 321 daily deaths due to tobacco use translate to 117,000 lives claimed every year.
She said tobacco companies are neither friends nor allies when it comes to public health and the only way to stop the deaths is to come up and implement counter the efforts of tobacco companies is to implement strict policies on tobacco control.
“The tobacco industry is not a friend when it comes to public health which is why we are calling on other local government units to follow the example set by Baguio in terms of tobacco use regulation,” she said, referring to the city’s Smoke-Free Ordinance that bans, among other things, the display of materials promoting smoking and strict implementation of the ban on smoking in public places.
City Health Services Officer Rowena Galpo said while Baguio has come a long way in its campaign against tobacco use, much needs to be done to sustain the initiatives to make the city smoke-free and stop tobacco-related deaths.
“We must persist in advancing tobacco control as a key health priority. We can stop the 321 daily deaths if we remain focused on our efforts to reduce tobacco use and avoid the diseases caused by tobacco.
Atty. Christina Louise Magalong, who represented Mayor Benjamin Magalong during the event, said the city government remains committed in making the city a safer and healthier place.
She said Baguio’s receipt of the Health Cities Awards of the World Health Organization is a testament to city’s efforts to respond to the call to provide the younger generation a healthy environment, done through continuous information campaign, enforcement of policies against smoking, and lending a hand to smokers who finally decided to quit. – Jane B. Cadalig