High prevalence of smokers noted in BPOs

THE Baguio City Anti-smoking Task Force have recorded a high prevalence of smokers in three business process outsourcing companies in the city with an age range of 18 to 45–years-old.

City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit Head Dr. Donnabel Tubera said during their surprise visit to the different BPOs in the city, it showed close to seven call center agents are smokers.

“We went to these BPO’s in the city and the smoking rate is 65 to 70 percent which is high considering the national average is only at 23 percent while the city prevalence is at 34 percent, so they double and triple the prevalence based on their estimates,” Tubera said.

Based on the Baguio City Anti-Smoking Task Force survey, cigarette addiction is prevalent among BPO employees because of their work schedule and various challenges they experience.

“We would really like to help them. We would like to de-normalize smoking. Saying that it’s normal to smoke if you are with BPO industry is not true. The pleasure that they are talking about in terms of stressed is not the best alternative to stress management,” Tubera stressed.

Given the serious health issues of smoking, the task force plans to help BPO workers control their addiction by coordinating with human resource office of BPO firms to train their personnel to conduct information drives and provide counselling on quitting smoking.

“We will empower their health workers to do smoke secession counselling as well. It is something we need to focus on because they don’t have the right to die at a young age because of a tobacco related diseases,” Tubera added.

The city government started implementing the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance in May 2017, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 26, which provides for smoke-free establishments in public and enclosed places.


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