Friday , May 25, 2018

Iloilo City strengthens anti-smoking ordinance

THE City Government of Iloilo is poised to amend its anti-smoking ordinance that will affect stores selling vapes and will impose higher fines for individual violators.

Iñigo Garingalao, executive director of Iloilo City’s Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST), on Wednesday said amendment of the anti-smoking ordinance are sought to “fill in the gaps” they observed while in the process of enforcing the local law.

“As a whole we would like protection for our people and the youth. We future-proof our ordinance because cigarette companies along with technology are also advancing,” he said.

Councilor Joshua Alim, author of the ordinance, said that Iloilo City happens to be the “model of other LGUs” in implementing their anti-smoking campaign, hence there is a need to step up.

Garingalao, he said, is one of the national validators for the Red Orchid Award of the Department of Health (DOH) and ICAST is invited to do lectures in other LGUs.

Once the amended ordinance becomes operational, establishments selling vapes or e-cigarettes are given 90 days to change their line of business

“Vaping stores are done in enclosed areas and we do not allow smoking or vaping in closed areas, thereby they are asked to change their business,” said Councilor Candice Magdalane Tupas, chair of the committee on health at the Provincial Board, who hears the proposed amendment.

Meantime, the proposed ordinance also sought to increase the fine for violators from P500 to P1,000 on the first offense, P1,500 for the second offense and third offense is P5,000.

The proposed amendment was passed on second reading during Tuesday’s regular session of the City Council.

This year, around 5,000 individuals were caught for violating the anti-smoking ordinance. Since its implementation in 2010, the violators reached up to 17,000 although more than half were not city residents, said Garingalao. (PNA)