Healthy life, healthy society
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The issue of the hazards posed by smoking continues to go to greater heights, even involving – or, perhaps, more so – highly influential personalities as no less than President Noynoy Aquino and, more recently, comebacking superstar Nora Aunor.
In the case of La Aunor, what raised a howl of protest was her seemingly innocent, albeit risqué, pose for the cover of an entertainment magazine with a cigaret stick nestled between her index and middle fingers. As the advocates against smoking insist, because of their stature, President Aquino and Ate Guy, as she is more popularly known, could exercise their influence on people to smoke or not to smoke.
The tobacco epidemic has reached its critical level even in Negros Oriental, as shown by the changes in the causes of morbidity and mortality statistics since 2006 to the present. The results have consistently shown that the diseases on the rise are those caused by, aggravated, or accelerated by smoking, such as cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, and the like.
A survey conducted in Amlan, Negros Oriental late last year revealed that the youngest person who has smoked is 7 years old, and the average person smoking is unemployed, and smokes an average of seven sticks daily. Moreover, the Philippines has one of the highest percentages of young smokers across Asian countries. About 30 percent of adolescents in the Philippines urban areas smoke. Of these, more than 70 percent started smoking between the ages of 13 and 15.
In a serious effort to fight this menace, the local government units of Amlan and Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental have benchmarked implementing rules and guidelines to enact R.A. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 among their constituents. Because of this, Amlan was awarded as the most successful municipality or LGU in the country to put real meaning to its declaration as a “Smoke-Free Municipality.” It was also one of the reasons why Negros Oriental was named as the fourth Most Performing Province by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
We actually do not lack initiatives, ordinances, and legislations insofar as the no-smoking campaign is concerned. If Amlan and Zamboanguita have staunchly stood their ground, there is no reason why other localities cannot follow suit. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle ensures a healthy, more productive society. It is never too late to do it right now.*