June 14, 2024

More than P2 million worth of cigarettes and tobacco products were destroyed on Jan. 25 by city officials and concerned agencies as part of the continuous smoke-free campaign.
Destroyed tobacco and tobacco- related products worth P2.3M last week were 183.3 kilograms of cigarettes, 72.5kg of momma (betel nut) with tobacco, 102 pieces of vape juice and 29 vape devices; and promotional devices such as ash trays, and tissue holders and display racks, some etched or printed with names of tobacco companies.
Council committee on health, sanitation and environmental affairs chair, Councilor Joel Alangsab, said the products destroyed were those that were confiscated due to violations of Ordinance 34-2017, such as selling without permit, selling of cigarettes per stick, selling within 100 meters from absolute ban areas such as church and schools; openly displaying tobacco products; and those smoking or vaping in public places.
Advertising materials and objects were also destroyed so as not to influence a person towards using or favoring a certain product, in this case, cigarettes, tobacco or vape products, Alangsab said.
Rep. Marquez Go, Baguio City Police Office, Anti-smoking Task Force (ASTF), Alangsab, and the Public Order and Safety Division led the destruction of the tobacco products along with City Health Services Office head Rowena Galpo and Sangguniang Kabataan officials.
The ASTF is now working closely with smokers wanting to give up the habit. Nicotine-easy-quit pastilles worth P178,500 bought from the collected fines and penalties from smokers are being given free.
Smoke cessation patches worth P40M from the World Health Organization are also distributed to those who want to quit smoking, Alangsab said.
Enrolment to a smoke-cessation program is open. Records show that from 48 enrollees, five are successful smoking quitters, five gave up on the program, and 38 are working hard on quitting smoking.
Baguio was recently recognized as top implementor of the smoke-free program and a recipient of the Department of Health Red Orchid award in 2018 and 2019.
The city aims to be in the hall of fame with another award in 2021, as the 2020 competition due to the pandemic did not push through.
The Red Orchid Award recognizes 100 percent compliance of smoke-free offices, agencies and public areas. – Julie G. Fianza