Erap quits smoking, imposes ban
After a bout with asthmatic bronchitis landed him in the hospital for a few days in December, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada announced on Monday that he had quit smoking.
At the same time, he ordered the intensified citywide implementation of a smoking ban.
“We will start at city hall. I enjoin everyone, from rank-and-file employees to department heads and even city councilors, to comply with this antismoking ordinance. We will be very strict,” Estrada said in a statement.
In line with his order, city hall employees can light up in only three designated areas at city hall: the Arroceros, Taft Avenue and Freedom Triangle gates.
According to the statement, Estrada has “started chewing sugar-free medicated lozenges after being discharged from the hospital as an alternative to smoking.”
His public information officer Mikee Falcis told reporters that the 79-year-old former President had asked Manileños “to follow his example” and quit smoking “for good.”
“Love your heart, quit smoking. For the sake of your family and loved ones, stop smoking. It won’t do you any good,” Falcis quoted Estrada as saying.
On Dec. 21, Estrada, a longtime smoker, was confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City after he supposedly came down with pneumonia.
He was released after a few days with his family clarifying that he had been diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis.
This is the nth time that a Manila mayor had ordered the strict enforcement of City Ordinance No. 7748 which prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places.
In 2011, then Mayor Alfredo Lim even ordered the arrest of violators.
Since taking over the city’s top post in 2013, this is the second time that Estrada has tried to quit smoking.
In January 2014, he told reporters that he had kicked the habit because he wanted to be healthy. But when talk turned to his ouster from the presidency in 2001, Estrada asked his aides for a cigarette. “You are driving me to smoke,” he told reporters.
His resolution lasted just two weeks.
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