The Department of Health (DOH) launched on Tuesday an eight-month campaign to promote smoke-free beaches, parks, and tourism sites in the country.

In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the campaign was launched in collaboration with Vital Strategies, Smokefree Philippines, as well as with SmokeFree Aklan, Action on Smoking and Health, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) office in the Philippines in line with the celebration of World No Tobacco Day.

Duque expressed hope that the campaign could further raise awareness and create new areas of impact in the overall effort to ensure the health of Filipino people.

“We unify the goal of the DOH to provide universal health care, which includes giving families an environment that lets them enjoy healthily without exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke,” Duque said.

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Duque added that the campaign seeks to showcase Boracay, Palawan, Caramoan, and other premier beach destinations as pilot areas for smoke-free beaches, beginning at the Station 2 of Boracay Beach, Malay, Aklan.

“We have included this initiative to protect our beaches, parks, and tourist destinations from the environmental ill-effects of this product,” Duque added.

According to DOH, around 4.5 trillion cigarettes become waste and 4.2 million cigarette butts end up on beaches and waterways per year.

Meanwhile, the Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a watchdog of the global tobacco industry, reiterated that the plastic and chemical contents in cigarette filters have been shown to exhibit detrimental effects to marine life and water quality.

The DOH reminded the public who want to quit to their tobacco use can call the department’s Quitline 1558 or visit the mReady2Quit Facebook page. (JAFD/PIA-IDPD)

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