No smoking, no firecrackers: DOH sees wins in war vs air pollution

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2017 02:44 PM

The Department of Health is optimistic that the new executive orders of President Rodrigo Duterte on smoking and the use of firecrackers would help lessen air pollution in the country.

"Kung mababawasan ang magpapaputok, mababawasan ang air pollution natin," Corazon Flores, assistant regional director for DOH-National Capital Region, said during the Clean Air Forum.

The health department also launched a hotline that provides counseling services to people who want to quit smoking as well as a campaign for smoke-free local government units.

Tobacco smoking is one of the main culprits of indoor pollution while the use of firecrackers add up to bad air quality particularly during the holidays.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed Executive Order 28 which shall confine the use of firecrackers to “community fireworks display.” 

Last month, the President also signed EO 26, banning smoking in public places nationwide.

The DOH is also positive that the tobacco sin tax somehow correlates to fewer purchase of cigarettes.

Based on the department's 2012 data, around 4.3 million people die prematurely annually due to illnesses attributable to household air pollution. 

These are mainly caused by the use of inefficient solid fuels in cooking such as wood, crop wastes, charcoal, and coal use in open fires and leaky stoves.

A World Health Organization report in 2016 stated that 7 million people die annually from air pollution. Of this figure, almost 6 million are from Asia.

WHO added that people who lives in urban areas with declining air quality are more at risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases such as asthma.