CIGARETTE dealers within the vicinity of UST must comply with stricter rules, following the issuance of a memorandum banning the sale of tobacco products outside schools in Manila.

Citing Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Control Law passed in 2003, the Civil Service Commission has issued (CSC) Memorandum No. 17 requiring city officials to prohibit the sale of tobacco products within 100 meter radius of schools in Manila. Cigarette packs were confiscated from convenience stores such as Ministop and 7 Eleven in Dapitan last July 18. The memo, however, was implemented only in stationary stores and not on street vendors.

Health experts who agreed with the implementation, however, also saw lapses in the provisions contained in the ordinance.

“It (ordinance) does not specifically state that bringing cigarettes inside schools is prohibited. Likewise, smoking cigarettes outside the campus is not banned,” said Dr. Ma. Ronila Santos, UST Hospital Smoking Cessation Unit head and respiratory medicine specialist.

UST Health Service director Dr. Maria Salve Olalia agreed, saying the University has limited authority over students who smoke outside the campus.

“It is already the responsibility of barangay officials. We can just monitor or spy on them (students) because we cannot reprimand them once they step out of UST,” she said.

As a result, anti-smoking units were formed within communities to ensure the implementation of the governance.

According to Manila Health Department medical officer and anti-smoking task force member Regina Bartolome, all schools are directed to form their respective anti-smoking units consisting of the barangay chairman, policemen, school administrator, and members of parent-teacher associations.

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Despite the strict implementation, a legal management sophomore who refused to be named said he still managed to buy a pack of cigarettes last July 9.

“I asked if I could buy a pack of Marlboro lights. Then, the woman went to another room room to take out one. When I received it, I asked why don’t they display the cigarettes on the shelves, but she did not answer,” he said.

Kyle Baser, a student from the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets), expressed opposition to the memorandum, saying college students are entitled to make their own choices.

“We are already college students. We know what we want and that’s our decision,” he said.

While some are opposed with the ban, Artlets history professor Ernie Mabahague supported it, saying it would benefit the students.

“The government has the right to impose the ban. As educators, we are not supposed to encourage the youth to smoke,” he said. “It is hard to kill that habit but one has no choice but to obey,” he said.

A World Health Organization study says that among a billion smokers in the world 30 percent are women. Moreover, a recent WHO report mentioned that the percentage of female Filipino adolescents is higher than males.

A preliminary injuction was issued recently against a Department of Health proposal to print images of the ill effects of smoking on cigarette packs to give the people a idea of what happens to their body because of smoking.

Cigarette smoking, according to Santos, puts the smoker at risk in developing not only lung cancer but also chronic destructive pulmonary disease like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and cardiovascular illnesses, and impotence or erectile dysfunction among males.

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To provide information on smoking’s adverse effects, the UST Health Service holds seminars tackling the harmful effects of smoking during wellness days and college days, while the Smoking cessation Unit caters to students who intend to quit smoking.

UST is the first “smoke-free” university in the country, imposing a strict no-smoking rule in 2002. Ian Carlo B. Antonio and Marnee A. Gamboa

6 COMMENTS

    • This article was written last year :))
      Btw, speaking of the date, is it possible for the Varsitarian to indicate the publication date at the end of every article? It’s not practical to download the pdf version of the article just to see its publication date. Thanks.

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