By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Manila Rep. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto is pushing for the passage of a bill seeking to protect children from cigarette smoke exposure.
He sought to amend Sections 6 and 29 of Republic Act 2911, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
“According to the Department of Health (DOH), children are more vulnerable to the dangers of inhaling second-hand smoke as compared to adults. This is due to their small stature and their developing respiratory system,” Nieto said.
Citing several studies, he said the children’s early exposure to second-hand smoke increased risk of lung cancer in adulthood.
“It is urgent that the State implement various safeguards to protect the future of the children in the country,” he said.
“This measure seeks to protect children from the negative effects of second-hand smoke in public places and enclosed areas by amending the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003,” Nieto said.
Under House Bill 8395, Nieto wants to prohibit smoking in all school-related activities, whether within or outside the school premises and whether held indoors or outdoors.
He proposed that non-smoking areas shall have at least one legible and visible sign: “Smoking is absolutely prohibited in enclosed areas under RA No. 9211.”
The bill provides that smoking and non-smoking signage should be made part of the requirements for the issuance and/or renewal of the business permits and/or permits to operate of establishments, health facilities, or schools and failure to comply therewith is a ground for the denial or revocation of such permits.
For schools, the signage should be prominently displayed whenever youth activities are being conducted declaring that the area is smoke-free zone, according to the bill.
It also provides that the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC)-Tobacco shall be created and shall be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) with the Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry as vice chairperson.
The IAC-Tobacco shall have the exclusive power and function to administer and implement the provisions of the proposed Act.