To help more people quit smoking, the Department of Health (DOH) is mulling the idea of putting up more anti-smoking clinics, Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said.

Setting up more anti-smoking clinics will form part of government’s expansion of its smoking cessation programme.

“With the executive order, (EO 26) we really need to put up more smoking cessation clinics especially if we expect more to stop smoking,” Dr Tayag was quoted as saying.

A smoking cessation clinic offers professional support for those wanting to kick the habit.

“It was stated in the EO that we will provide service for those who want to quit. So it really means that the DOH, aside from focusing on pushing for a smoke-free environment, is also committed towards providing services to help those who want to quit smoking,” DR Tayag said.

Meanwhile, the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), an NGO, called for the creation of smoking cessation package benefits under PhilHealth as a way to encourage more quitters to kick the habit, especially knowing that they won’t have to shell out funds to quit.

The Lung Center of the Philippine has a smoking cessation programme, and similar programmes are likewise being readied, according to the Philippine Information Agency.

These are clinics operating in Amang Rodriguez Hospital (Marikina), Philippine Heart Center, Philippine General Hospital, National Children’s Hospital, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center (Pasig), and San Lorenzo Ruiz Women’s Hospital, among others.

Before the signing of the executive order on the nationwide smoking ban which prohibits smoking in public and enclosed places, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2015 released its report which indicated that there already was a drop in the number of Filipino smokers, from 29.7 percent in 2009, to 23.8 percent in 2015.

The decrease was largely attributed to the Sin Tax Law, which increased the price of cigarettes.

Those who attempted to quit rose from 47.9 percent in 2009, to 52.5 percent in 2015. However, those who experienced success remained at a low 4 percent.

The report noted that people smoke an average of 11 cigarette sticks daily. MIMS

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