/ 31 July 2021

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones called for the institutionalization of tobacco control policies that will complement efforts to keep schools smoke-free.

“We are using all available platforms to appeal to our legislators, decision-makers, and influencers to help us in protecting the welfare of our learners by institutionalizing policies and creating an environment that is supportive of their health-promoting choices,” Briones said during the Philippine Smoke-free Movement Champions’ Conference.

The event, themed “Building and Celebrating Tobacco Control Champions: Promoting, Defending, and Institutionalizing Smoke-Free Environment Policies,” was organized to campaign for the passage of a comprehensive smoke-free environments law.

Briones said that tobacco control policies are needed to educate learners about the ill-effects of tobacco use.

“Our schools have always been smoke-free. And we do this not only to protect our learners from second-hand smoke, but also from situations that normalize tobacco use to make it appealing to them,” she said.

“But schools can only do so much. Which environments our learners are exposed to when they are not in school also have a great influence on their decisions as to whether to give in to or to reject the temptation to get into smoking,” she added.

The DepEd chief pointed out that strong policies are needed to protect the health of children who are “being targeted by the tobacco industry to be their next generation of consumers.”

“What we are really talking about are the dreams of our youth that can only be achieved if they grow up healthy and free from the harms of tobacco use,” Briones said.

Meanwhile, Angela Tibay, president of the Regional Federation of Supreme Student Governments in the Cordillera Administrative Region, encouraged the youth to shun cigarettes.

“I encourage the youth to stop smoking because of its bad effects. ‘Wag magpapaniwala sa mapanlinlang na tobacco industry, dahil wala silang magandang dulot at wala silang pakialam sa ating kalusugan,” Tibay said.