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DepEd to Diligently Protect Young Learners from the Evils of Tobacco

MANILA --Diligently protect the young learners from the evils of tobacco was the exigent statement July 16 of Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones during the Conference on Building and Celebrating Tobacco Control Champions: Promoting, Defending, and Institutionalizing Smoke-Free Environment Policies sponsored by the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Smoke-Free Movement (PSFM), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), Health Justice (HJ), and Social Watch of the Philippines (SWP).

“We are talking about the dreams of young people that can only be achieved if they grow up healthy and free from the harms of tobacco products,” she added.

Comparing to a battlefield the obstinacy of the tobacco industry to continuously and sinfully peddle and sell their harmful and addictive products especially to young people for the sake of huge profits, Secretary Briones stated that she was thankful to be on the virtuous and moral side of those who fight for health, longevity, and future generations.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) expose, the youth are being viciously targeted by the tobacco industry to be the main market or next generation of consumers. The DepEd secretary said that through strong and comprehensive tobacco control policies such as the Smoke-Free Environments measure can we win the battle. ‘We are in a very strategic time to have these legislative measures passed, especially now that we have a President who has repeatedly and publicly expressed support for tobacco control’.

She mentioned that people must stop the vice of cigarette smoking and consumption of non-essential tobacco products to care for our human body as this is God’s temple. On a personal note, Sec. Briones mentioned that close kin have died due to extensive cigarette smoking.

As head of the country’s largest bureaucracy and representing millions of Filipino learners, the department is tasked to afford keen attention to the welfare and well-being of all those in the academic sector, and the best interest of children and learners. Ensuring the health of learners is part and parcel of the DepEd’s concern.

Schools are smoke-free. Learners are protected from secondhand smoke. Teachers, as role models, are discouraged to smoke. This will help de-normalize tobacco use and cigarette smoking less appealing. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 21.5% of Filipino adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces and 37.6% are exposed to public conveyances.

Meanwhile, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that 54.2% of youth are exposed to secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces. The Department of Health and World Health Organization raise alarm over direct and indirect smokers, especially this pandemic, since studies claim that those with a history of smoking have higher chances of contracting severe COVID-19 health repercussions.

On another note, in celebrating July 15th as the World Youth Skills day, it is also important to highlight the need to shield the youth from the evils of cigarette smoking. For 2021, the event is organized by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka to the United Nations, together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Labor organization (ILO) and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

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Mamerta De Castro


Region 4A

Information Officer III at PIA-Batangas

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