The government should enforce strictly its anti-smoking regulations as part of its strategy against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a public interest law group said on Tuesday, May 18.
ImagineLaw Executive Director Sophia San Luis, in a statement, said that “former and current smokers are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19” as she pointed out that “tobacco, vape products, and second-hand smoking weaken the lungs and the immune system.”
She said that findings on smoking and vaping have been confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
She lamented that anti-smoking laws and regulations are not enforced strictly by the government.
She cited Republic Act No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which provides the legal framework in enforcing such bans.
At the same time, San Luis pointed out that President Rodrigo Duterte even issued Executive Orders No. 26 and 106 that provided executive support for the strict enforcement of bans on smoking and vaping.
“We cannot relax these regulations, especially during this pandemic. As we try to achieve herd immunity through mass vaccinations, we should also boost the public’s immunity against respiratory diseases and prevent children and young people from tobacco and vape exposure,” she added.