Good news to non-smokers out there: We are now getting closer to having a law imposing a nationwide smoking ban in public places. While a similar ordinance is in effect in Davao City, the idea of having the smoking ban nationwide puts us on the same level as Singapore and South Korea in terms of having strict smoking laws.
The bill that awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte prohibits smoking in public places, both indoor and outdoor, but will provide designated smoking areas 10 meters away from buildings.
While there are some people, particularly smokers, opposing the idea, the proposed bill is generating a positive response in general. Here are a few benefits of the soon-to-be-signed Nationwide Smoking Ban ordinance:
1. Our country will become more organized in effect. By implementing designated spots for smoking, smokers will now think twice before lighting up a stick. This may sound like a burden for smokers, but it will definitely make a world of difference for those who do not smoke and do not want to suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke.
2. Less secondhand smoking-related diseases. Do not take secondhand smoking lightly; non-smokers can acquire various diseases (lung cancer included) through the smoke exhaled by smokers. Studies show that around 42,000 die from secondhand smoke in America alone. That being said, imposing a nationwide smoking ban can help non-smokers lower their risk of getting lung disease, lung cancer, and heart attack.
3. A more livable environment in Metro Manila. By confining smoking to specific places, our environment will be less polluted, and we get to breathe air that's cleaner and healthier than usual. A healthier environment would mean less hospital visits and less medical expenses for people.
4. Increased safety for both people and the surroundings. By limiting places where people can smoke, the possibility of explosions and fires caused by cigarette butts will be reduced as well. Engineers and designers will put into consideration factors like ventilation and materials when designing designated smoking areas so even the safety (and welfare) of smokers are also taken care of.
5. Better business for establishments. How? A smoking ban can mean increased productivity as it reduces the chances of employees being absent due to illness, and it also helps in keeping the establishment in tip top shape; this is especially crucial to those involved in the food and manufacturing industry.
So, are you all ready for this change towards a healthier Philippines?
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Illustration by Jana Jimenez