Since its launch in June, the Department of Health’s Quitline (165-362) has been averaging 20 calls per day. That number is expected to increase after the full implementation of the nationwide expanded smoking ban.

The DOH Quitline, hosted at the Lung Center of the Philippines, receives queries 24/7 from smokers wanting to kick the habit. Similar services are available via text messaging by typing ‘STOPSMOKE’ and sending it to 29290-165-364.

“We expect more calls to the DOH Quitline as the implementation of smoking ban happens,” Secretary Ubial was quoted by the Inquirer.

With the national implementation of the EO No. 26, mandating more smoke-free environments, the DOH is positive the Quitline office will cater to more quitters. The EO took effect on July 23.

With fewer areas where smoking is allowed, smokers will find it harder to continue smoking.

DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said the quitline was established in anticipation of smokers deterred by the EO from smoking.

“That was the experience in Davao when we implemented the smoking ban in public places. Many smokers decided to quit altogether,” Secretary Ubial reasoned. The department hopes that the success in Davao would be replicated around the country.

Violators of the EO will face a fine of Php 500 to Php 10,000, depending on the number of offenses. Establishment owners who violate the EO likewise face imprisonment or a fine of at least Php 5,000.

DOH further established a hotline where one can report violations, by dialing the hotline number (02)711-1002.

According to the EO, smoking is strictly prohibited in schools, colleges and universities, playgrounds, food preparation areas, basketball courts, stairwell, hospitals, hotels and malls, as well as in elevators, taxis, buses, jeepneys, ships, tricycles, trains and planes.

Administrators are mandated to put-up a “No Smoking” sign and Local Government Units (LGUs) will monitor the implementation along with the Philippine National Police (PNP). MIMS

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