199 smoking, vape violators apprehended in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – A total of 145 individuals were apprehended while 54 establishments were charged for violating the smoke-free and vape ordinance here in January, the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) said.

From 2020 to 2022, a total of 1,635 individuals and 1,263 establishments were cited for violating the ordinance.

POSD Team Leader Allan Faustino said the decrease in establishment violators was due to the expensive fines.

There was an increase in cases due to the number of tourists who are unaware of the city’s strict implementation of the ordinance, Faustino said, adding that being unaware of such is no excuse.

Daryll Kim Longid, officer-in-charge of POSD, said there is no letup in the implementation of the ordinance.

"As regards to our tourists, many are caught because they think we are just as relaxed as where they have come from, and we will continue doing our best in being consistent. It's like when people come to Baguio City, they have a change of behavior or mindset," Daryll Kim Longid, officer-in-charge of POSD, said.

Longid also said that the successful implementation of the ordinance is being benchmarked by various cities across the country.

He noted that the youth have shifted from smoking to vape, , especially minors aged 13 to 17-years-old.

Meanwhile, a surprise inspection conducted by the city government through the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) yielded over P700,000 worth of vape juice and accessories from two shops on Mabini St. and Kisad Road on Feb. 15.

“Both shops were confirmed to have no business permits by the Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) while most e-cigarette products sold were non-compliant with the guidelines of the BIR, DTI, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making the products dangerous to health apart from being illegal,” Longid said.