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Friday, November 11, 2011

QC HALL TO PENALIZE SMOKING BAN VIOLATORS

Starting January next year, the Quezon City government will start issuing citation tickets to violators of the city’s ban on smoking within the QC Hall compound.

“By 2012, there will be strict enforcement of the provisions of Republic Act 9211 otherwise known as Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and Civil Service Circular No. 17 and SP – 1515 at the QC Hall complex,” said city health officer Dr. Antonieta Inumerable.

To date, Inumerable said, the QC smoke-free task force, which has been directed by Mayor Herbert Bautista to enforce the city’s no-smoking policy, is now in the process of completing the final draft of the violation citation tickets that will be issued.

Under RA 9211, smoking in absolutely smoke-free areas carries a fine of P500 but not more than P1,000 for first offense; P1,000 but not more than P5,000 for second offense and P5,000 but not more than P10,000, for third offense.

“We are not against smokers. But, what we are after is the safety and protection of people against the danger of second-hand smoke,” said Inumerable.

City health authorities had already declared an area at the QC Hall football field as the designated smoking area for employees and clients of the city government.

To highlight the city government’s efforts to make QC Hall a smoke-free environment, the city health department had launched “Oplan Sita,” which to date, has already resulted in the apprehension of about 1,475 violators since its implementation in September 2010. Of the number, 660 were city hall employees while 815 were visitors.

To complement the effort, the city health department has also opened up a smoking cessation clinic at the city hall employees’ clinic to provide counseling to QC hall employees who wanted to kick-off the habit of smoking.

Procurement of patches and medicines needed by patients is also underway.

Meanwhile, the city health department will host “Hataw Bayan Para Sa Smoke-Free Quezon City” on November 25 as part of the city’s massive anti-smoking campaign and to promote awareness on the negative effects of smoking.

City hall employees are encouraged to participate during the event, which will be highlighted by song and dance performances advocating no smoking messages. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

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