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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Now smoke-free for 10 years, Davao hailed as international example on World No-Tobacco Day


On Thursday, May 31 - marked internationally as World No-Tobacco Day - Davao celebrates ten years as a "smoke-free" city, and as an internationally-acclaimed example of a community successfully kicking a deadly habit. 
According to the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), the metropolis is "one of the most successful and pioneering smoke-free initiatives in the ASEAN."
Davao City's campaign against smoking began in 2002, spearheaded by then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
While previous ordinances were already in place to combat smoking in public places, these were so-called "sleeping ordinances," and were thus consolidated into what would become the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance passed by the city council in July 2002.
Duterte then formed the Anti-Smoking Task Force to execute the ordinance, which took effect in November of the same year.
His daughter, the present Mayor of Davao City Sara Duterte-Carpio, has continued the crusade against smoking, saying their policy is being implemented to "protect public health."
Public places including schools, hospitals, government offices, playgrounds, and restaurants have since become smoke-free in Davao City.
"Davao is fortunate to have government leaders who prioritize the health of the people and have the political will to support and enforce a comprehensive and stringent anti-smoking ordinance," SEATCA Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Program Manager Dr. Domilyn Villarreiz said.
According to Villarreiz, Davao City has garnered three Department of Health Red Orchid Awards for "100% smoke-free environments," as well as the Global Smoke-free Partnership Award to a Governmental Body for "exceptional leadership and commitment to further smoke-free policies."
Following in Davao City's footsteps are other Southeast Asian locations, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Malaysia's Malacca, known for its 17th century Dutch buildings; Laos' Luang Prabang, recognized for its traditional architecture; and Cambodia's Angkor Wat, famed for its ancient temples.
More than 40 locations in the Philippines are also looking to become smoke-free, according to SEATCA.
The organization has published Your Guide to a Smoke-free City: Lessons learned from Davao City, Philippines, which documents the city's successful crusade against smoking.

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