Iloilo City bats for stronger smoking regulation through art | Inquirer News

Iloilo City bats for stronger smoking regulation through art

A total of 321 pairs of donated footwear were displayed as part of a limited art installation at a mall in Iloilo City on July 22 to depict the number of Filipinos who die from smoking-related diseases every day. (JOEY MARZAN / INQUIRER VISAYAS)

ILOILO CITY—The city government on Friday joined a non-government organization’s (NGO) call for stronger regulation against smoking tobacco, vape, and other e-cigarettes by featuring an art installation depicting deaths from diseases that these products cause.

A total of 321 pairs of footwear, consisting of shoes, sandals, and slippers, and other footwear types, were displayed at the activity center of SM City Iloilo in the Mandurriao district, symbolizing the 321 Filipinos who die every day from smoking and tobacco-related diseases.


The Pasig-based NGO ImagineLaw, with the support of the Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST), initiated the art installation.


Iloilo City is the fourth stop of the one-day art installation that started in Quezon City in September 2021.

“These 321 shoes depict the 321 people that we lose daily due to the aggressive marketing and underhanded tactics of the tobacco industry. They depict the loved ones that we lose and the loved ones whom they abandon. They can no longer help their families and no longer contribute to nation building,” said ImagineLaw Executive Director lawyer Sophia San Luis.

Regulations on smoking and tobacco, vape, and e-cigarette-related deaths aren’t as swiftly passed compared to transport safety regulations in response to crashes, ICAST chief Iñigo Garingalao bared.

Smoking is ingrained in Filipino folklore, citing the long usage and aggressive advertising and promotions by the industry’s benefactors, even as far as calling it a “rite of manhood” and a “hopeless case,” he said.


The entry of e-cigarettes, particularly vape, worsened this Garingalao added.


“If a plane or a bus crashes and kills 321 persons, men, women, and children, and their mutilated and mangled bodies scatter, what do you think will be the public reaction? Surely it will be of shock, horror, and condemnation. Next, there will be cries for investigation, on who to blame, and for leaders to take action, legislate, and call for a safer environment of travel,” said Garingalao.

“The stressed attitude of smokers, the [tobacco and other smoking-related companies love it. They go around legislatures and legislators so when smoking deaths happen, they wouldn’t be blamed. It’s usually blamed on stroke, lack of sleep, or complications, but never the cigarette or the cigarette company,” he added.

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TAGS: e-cigarettes, Iloilo City, Smoking, vape

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