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NCR’s smoke-free policies rated satisfactory, very satisfactory

FIVE local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) have passed the level of compliance in implementing smoke-free policies following a study conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Foundation Inc. (UPCMCFI).

The cities of Muntinlupa, Caloocan, San Juan and Mandaluyong as well as the Municipality of Pateros have passed their respective comprehensive Smoke-Free and Vape-Free ordinances and started the implementation in 2017. After more than a year of implementation, the study was conducted to identify how people responded to the ordinances.

Study shows that residents and establishments in the aforementioned LGUs were rated “Satisfactory” to “Very Satisfactory” in terms of compliance on advertising and promotions, ordinance enforcement, selling and display, and use of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems products (ENDS) products. Compliance to presence of pictorial health warnings and reporting officers and absence of non-compliant tobacco sellers, however, need to be further improved.

LGUs were assessed in four compliance metrics such as advertising and promotion; enforcement; selling and distribution; and smoking and ENDS use in public places including schools, transportation terminals and PUVs.

Through the collaborative efforts of Metro Manila LGUs, we will transition from highly compliant to totally smoke-free cities soon. Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to safeguard our health especially during this COVID-19 pandemic,” MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said.

To achieve a high level of success in implementing the laws/ordinances concerning smoking regulation and smoking cessation programs, it was recommended for LGUs to strengthen the existing policies equipped with standardized monitoring system and execute the laws up to the barangay level.

For her part, Dr. Loida Alzona, director of the MMDA Health and Environmental Protection Office (HEPO) commended the efforts of the 17 Metro Manila LGUs in promoting a healthy environment towards achieving a 100% smoke-free cities vision, adding that similar study will be conducted in other LGUs.

The Smoke-Free Compliance Study was conducted by the MMDA and UPCMCFI from December 2019 to February 2020 to see the effectiveness of various ordinances relevant to the smoke-free campaign of the government. They presented the results of the study with Metro Manila LGU representatives in a virtual meeting last month.