FIRST it was the President’s hometown, now it is the nation’s capital.

This was the message of an anti-smoking advocacy group to other local government units (LGUs) in the country, saying it is about time that they also implement their own smoking ban ordinances for the sake of their constituents.

According to the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), having Davao City and the City of Manila issue their respective smoking bans simply shows that it is almost imperative for other LGUs to follow suit.

“One of the first was the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte (Davao), now it’s the capital city of the country (Manila). These developments should definitely encourage other local government units to adopt their own tobacco control policies sooner rather than later,” said NVAP President Emer Rojas in a statement.

NVAP made the call after Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada ordered the strict implementation of the city ordinance prohibiting smoking in all public places in Manila.

Under City Ordinance No. 7748, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas like hospitals, schools, public buildings, shopping malls, and other public places in Manila.

“We applaud Mayor Erap for having the initiative to share his renaissance of veering away from his known smoking habit to his constituents,” said Rojas.

It can be recalled that Estrada had dropped the vice after he was hospitalized last December due to asthma attacks stemming from smoking, among others.

Rojas, then, appealed to Manileños to immediately follow the example set by Estrada and quit smoking for good in order to avoid tobacco-related illnesses.

“This will not only prevent them from developing smoking-related illnesses but also save their families from acquiring diseases borne out of second-hand smoke,” Rojas pointed. (SunStar Philippines)