By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
The Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) is very much in favor of banning the use of vapes or e-cigarettes in public spaces.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the ban on the importation and use of e-cigarettes in public places.
According to Iñigo Garingalao, executive director of ICAST, the ban will help their office intensify the city’s anti-smoking campaign.
“We are very much in favor with that because mas mahapos na ang amon enforcement,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Even before the pronouncements of President Duterte, Garingalao said Iloilo City was among the first local government units in the country to include anti-vaping efforts in the extensive campaign against smoking.
“History wise, kita ang isa sa mga una nga LGU nga naginclude sa ordinances nga ginabawal ang vaping in public places. Ang aton treatment, kon indi siya pwede kapanigarilyo, indi man siya pwede ka vape,” he said.
While e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) are not yet rampant in Iloilo City compared to other big cities such as Manila, Cebu, and Baguio, Garingalao emphasized that it is gaining popularity among youth and minors.
“Medyo patalang ini nga produkto. It was supposed to be used as a cessation tool but ginamarket gihapon sa kabataan,” he lamented.
Out of the every 10 apprehensions by ICAST agents, one or two are vape users, according to Garingalao. Most of these vapers are also teenagers, he added.
“Gaamat-amat popular sa youth because they are adventurous and interested to try new things that look cool and sleek. But it is still hazardous maskin gina-underly nila na it is safer than the conventional cigarette,” he stressed.
President Duterte on Tuesday announced he will ban the importation and use of vaping devices or e-cigarettes in public as part of its measures to safeguard the health of the public.
“Better stop it because I will order your arrest if you do it in a room. I am now ordering the law-enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public. That is like smoking,” he told reporters in a press conference in Malacañang on Tuesday.
Recently, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first reported case of an electronic cigarette associated lung injury from Central Visayas.