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Task force reports an increase in smoking and vaping in Iloilo City.

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Vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes, according to the Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST), do not aid in the progressive cessation of smoking.

In a Monday interview, ICAST Executive Director Iigo Garingalao claimed that the city’s anti-smoking ordinance enforcement revealed a greater level of suspicion of both traditional and electronic cigarette smokers.

In terms of vaping, there were 433 violators caught and given citation fines by the Philippine National Police and ICAST agents from May to October this year as opposed to 98 during the same period last year.

From May to October this year, there were 5,258 violators of conventional cigarettes, compared to 3,933 violators during the same time the previous year.

While people of all ages smoke conventional cigarettes, according to Garingalao, people who vape tend to be between the ages of 18 and 28.

They are not big smokers of traditional cigarettes at that age. In other words, vaping is gaining popularity and is becoming another way to consume nicotine. They are embarking on a lifelong road to becoming smokers, he said.

If they are affected by the negative effects of their habit by the time they are 50 years old, they will no longer be productive.

Since the ICAST has a small staff, Garingalao suggested that support for the anti-smoking campaign extend to the local barangay level.

Additionally, schools are encouraged to provide a hand by offering guidance to their students.

The city’s anti-smoking/vaping law carries fines of PHP1,500 for the first crime, PHP2,000 for the second offense, and PHP5,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Administrative fines will be imposed on establishments together with permit suspension, closure, or administrative fines.

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