July 13, 2024

A store at Cresencia Village was padlocked on June 9 for selling cigarettes to minors and allowing students to smoke within its premises, all in violation of the city’s Smoke-Free Baguio City Ordinance.

Having been located within 100 meters of a school and government offices, the store is prohibited from selling cigarettes, beer, or liquor and had no business permit to dispense said items.

Three minors were chanced upon purchasing cigarettes from said store on March 6 prompting an investigation that led to the closure proceedings.

Personnel from the Permits and Licensing Division (PLD), Health Services Office (HSO) – Sanitary Division, Baguio Smoke Free Task Force and barangay officials who enforced the closure order met with the store’s owners and advised them to obtain a business permit before reopening as a regular sari-sari store.

As the operation was going on, one resident who happened to walk by the enforcers while vaping was accosted for violation of the Smoke-Free Ordinance.

He was issued a citation ticket while his vape was confiscated.

The task force has been sustaining the anti-vaping campaign along with the anti-smoking advocacy in view of the increasing incidence of vape use among the youth in the city.

The HSO affirmed there is already a vape use epidemic in the city due to the rapidly increasing use of vape and e-cigarettes notably among youths aged 15 to 24.

The city government through a city council resolution urged schools to ban and confiscate e-cigarette devices to ensure that no students will use such devices within school premises.

A program will also be conducted among parents and teachers to teach them how to recognize vape devices, which can be disguised as a pencil, ballpen or even a flash drive.

Parents are also advised to be vigilant and monitor their children, as such devices are easily sold online.

The city continues to up its strict implementation of its anti-smoking and vaping ordinance in an effort to encourage smokers to give up the dangerous and addictive habit that not only compromises their health but also the health of others

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