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DOH: Smokers expected to quit

Employees of the Department of Health wear giant cigarette packs showing the ill health effects of smoking as the department launches an information campaign on Executive Order No. 26, the nationwide ban on smoking signed by President Duterte. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said that it expected more smokers to kick the habit now that the nationwide smoking ban under President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 26 is being fully enforced.

“We expect more calls in the DOH Quit Line as the implementation of smoking ban happens,” Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said, referring to a help desk for smokers who want to quit.

“That was the experience in Davao,” she said. “When we implemented the smoking ban in public places, many smokers decided to quit altogether,” she added.

According to Ubial, since last month’s launch of Quit Line, the DOH has been getting an average of 20 calls per day from smokers who want to give up the habit.

Ubial said health officials were hopeful that Davao City’s success in the smoking ban can be replicated nationwide through Mr. Duterte’s EO 26.

The executive order provides the designation of only one smoking area in buildings, malls and other establishments.

Establishments are also required to put up “No Smoking” signs.

Smokers, according to Ubial, would find it difficult to cling to their habits since there would be fewer areas where they could smoke.

Those who want to kick the habit can call the DOH Quit Line (165364) where smokers can get advice on steps on how to quit smoking.

Outbrain