Cops to put up anti-vaping signs in public places
CEBU, Philippines — The public can expect anti-vaping warnings around anytime soon as the Police Regional Office – 7 strengthens its campaign against the use of e-cigarettes especially in public places.
“Maglagay tayo ng (signage) na using vape is strictly prohibited. Para nang sa ganun, yung bibili ay alam nila na gagamitin lang nila sa bahay or private places (We will put up signs that using vape is strictly prohibited so that those who will buy it will use it only at their houses or in private places),” said PRO-7 Director Valeriano de Leon Monday.
The information drive will supplement an initial move of the police confiscating e-cigarettes from those found using them in public places.
Last week, PRO-7 confiscated over 200 e-cigarettes across the region.
De Leon said the additional directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the importation of e-cigarettes has also put an emphasis on its use.
“The message is very clear kaya kahit ganun parin ang gusto nating mahuli, kumonti over the past three days (The message is very clear that is why even if we wanted to confiscate more, the numbers just went down),” he said.
He said the owners of the e-cigarettes confiscated did not complain with others turning their cigarettes in voluntarily.
De Leon said they will arrest those who will refuse to hand their e-cigarettes over, saying the police have legal basis to do so.
He welcomed the move of the Cebu City Council in passing an ordinance that would regulate the use of e-cigarettes in the city.
He said they have inspected and coordinated with vape store owners about the information drive.
The Department of Health (DOH) has estimated that one million Filipinos use e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are devices that vaporize a solution that users inhale. Unlike regular cigarettes, it does not use tobacco leaves.
While it is labeled as a healthier alternative for those who want to quit smoking, DOH has called for an outright ban on vaping, warning that e-cigarettes are not a proven nicotine replacement therapy and can cause lung illness.
Last week, DOH personnel from the agency’s central office in Manila came to Cebu to take a look at the 16-year-old girl who was confirmed to have acquired the first case of E-Cigarette or Vape-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) in the country.
It was a private pediatric pulmonologist who reported the case to DOH.
According to the case report, the girl has been using e-cigarettes for six months while concurrently consuming combustible cigarettes.
De Leon said earlier that what happened to the girl should serve as a wake-up call for the police and other government agencies to implement the ban strictly. (FREEMAN)