600,000 Die from Second-hand Smoke Yearly

No Smoking
You are stupid not to understand this
One of the perils and hassles of riding using public tranportation is encountering passengers who smoke cigarettes inside public jeepneys and non-air-conditioned buses. Most often than not, the drivers themselves are the ones who still smoke despite the stickers and signs that says “No Smoking” plastered right inside the jeepney they’re driving!

This is despite the fact that Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which took effect years ago, expressly prohibits smoking inside public transportation. Sec 5. (e) of the law specifically says:

Public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas;

Again, this was reinforced by the Land Transportation Frachising & Regulatory Board in Memorandum Circula 2009-036 calling for 100% Smoke Free Public Utility Vehicles and Public Land Transportation Terminals.

Unfortunately, drivers and commuters still blatantly ignore and violate these laws. Putting in harm’s way their non-smoking passengers who become exposed to second-hand smoke or passive smoking.

To those who sill don’t believe that second-hand smoke is harmful to one’s health, a recent study by the team of Dr Armando Peruga for the World Health Organization has came up with findings that confirms this fact:

Worldwide, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers, and 35% of female non-smokers were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2004. This exposure was estimated to have caused 379 000 deaths from ischaemic heart disease, 165 000 from lower respiratory infections, 36 900 from asthma, and 21 400 from lung cancer. 603 000 deaths were attributable to second-hand smoke in 2004, which was about 1·0% of worldwide mortality. 47% of deaths from second-hand smoke occurred in women, 28% in children, and 26% in men. DALYs lost because of exposure to second-hand smoke amounted to 10·9 million, which was about 0·7% of total worldwide burden of diseases in DALYs in 2004. 61% of DALYs were in children. The largest disease burdens were from lower respiratory infections in children younger than 5 years (5 939 000), ischaemic heart disease in adults (2 836 000), and asthma in adults (1 246 000) and children (651 000).

These findings were based in 2004, Republic Act 9211 was enacted in 2003, while the LTFRB Memorandum Circular came to effect just last January 7, 2010. Still, drivers and smokers still smoke cigarettes inside PUVs, as if they are blind to the “No Smoking” signs inside their vehicles.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if those figures have increased as I’ve not seen a decrease in drivers and commuters who smoke in public transportation. The fight against second-hand smoke remains tough but is not a losing one.

And since the law is on our side, we should not be afraid of reminding drivers to stop smoking while inside their jeepneys or for other passengers to put their cigarette before boarding, otherwise, we should report them so they’d end up with a fine or in jail.

Image by TheTruthAbout

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