By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY — Members and supporters of the Philippine Smoke-Free Movement (PSFM) on Thursday (Dec. 7) signed a manifesto of support to smoke-free and vape-free environments.

The PSFM celebrated its three years of genuine advocacy for smoke-free environment through a yearend assembly on Thursday.

The manifesto states that the PSFM members vow to support the passage of comprehensive public policies in both national and local levels that will promote, sustain, and defend smoke-free and vape-free environments.

Aurora Quilala, PSFM deputy executive director, in her speech said that the movement would like to be able to pass into law during the 19th Congress the proposed House Bill 5315, mandating a smoke-free environment in all public and workplaces, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 9211, otherwise known as the “Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003”.

Quilala also said that the PSFM is also monitoring the proposed bill on Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

She added that they also advocating for the extension of the constituency of the youth in the smoke-free environment as they are disproportionately represented in the movement.

Quilala stressed that the PSFM is fighting for a 100 percent smoke-free Philippines.

The PSFM believes that promoting comprehensive and sustainable smoke-free and vape-freely environments will maximize the protection of our people’s health, particularly the youth, and aid the government by reducing the socio-economic costs attributed to smoking and vaping.

These harmful vices are a sustainable development concern that must be addressed by coherent actions across various sectors of the society.

“We believe that reducing exposure to secondhand smoke from tobacco and vape products and limiting the use of such deadly products will reduce our smoking and vaping prevalence and deter the youth and vulnerable population from starting these harmful vices,” the PSFM said.

“We believe that a strong and genuine multi(-sectoral movement such as the PSFM, is needed to directly address the efforts of both tobacco and vape industry to lure the people, particularly the youth, into addiction through false marketing and interference in public policy and government affairs, ” it added.

Most importantly, the PSFM believes that a comprehensive smoke-free and vape-free policy must contain the ALERT provisions to fully protect our people:

A is for Awards to compliant and proactive Local Government Units (LGUs) and other units.

L is for Local Heath Budget Allocation of at least 3% to ensure sustainability of tobacco-control programs.

E is for Expand Smoking and Vaping ban in public places and workplaces.

R is for Remove indoor designated smoking areas.

T is for Task Force at the LGU levels to lead the implementation of tobacco control programs.

The PSFM urged the concerned lawmakers for the immediate passage of smoke-free bill and smoke-free ordinances now