Smoke Free Philippines!

Smoke Free Philippines!

I Grew Up With Tobacco 

Where I grew up every boy held three things in the highest esteem: his baseball glove; his bike; and his Skoal.

I was dipping before my tenth birth day. I began dabbling in tobacco much earlier than that. By 16 I was a pack-a-day Camel smoker. At 18 I switched to Marlboro Reds.

In my early twenties I woke up to the mind control that Big Tobacco was using on me. I kicked the habit and have hated tobacco with a passion ever since.

I now find the smell of tobacco to be sickening and it bothers me when someone thinks that they have the right to pollute my family's air when we are in some public place or on a bus. 

Philippines Has Had Anti-Tobacco Laws For Decades

RA 8749, also known as the Clean Air Act, was passed in 1999 and made it illegal to smoke inside public buildings and public transport. Even so, I cannot count how many times I have seen people smoking in jeepneys and on buses.

RA 9211 made it illegal for minors to buy tobacco products and for businesses to sell tobacco products to them. Even so, I see have young kids smoking near our place and elsewhere for years. Only a couple of months ago I was at a store when a shoe-less little girl entered. Her father had sent her to purchase a hand full of single cigarettes. She could not have been much more than five years old - if even that.

Executive Order No. 26

In 2017 Executive Order No. 26 was signed with the intent of creating a smoke free public environment nationwide.

Section 4(2) of EO No. 26 states that any designated smoking area must be no less than "ten (10) meters from any entrances, exits or any place where people congregate or in front of intake ducts" including but not limited to:
  • Government buildings
  • Public and private educational facilities
  • All places of work 
  • Food and drink establishments 
  • Hotels and other accommodation facilities 
  • Public and private health facilities 
  • Transportation terminals 
  • Churches 
  • Malls, shopping centers and retail stores 
  • Entertainment establishments 
  • Sports venues 
Some of the specific prohibitions from Section 3:
(a) Smoking within enclosed public places conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, except in DSAs fully compliant with the requirements of Section 4 of his Order; 

(b) For persons-in-charge to allow, abet or tolerate smoking in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of DSAs fully compliant with Section 4 of this Order;

(c) For any person to sell, distribute or purchase tobacco products to and from minors. It shall not be a defense for the person selling or distributing that he/she did not know or was not aware of the real age of the minor. Neither shall it be a defense that he/she did not know nor had any reason to believe that the cigarette or any other tobacco product was for the consumption of the minor to whom it was sold;

(d) For a minor to smoke, sell or buy cigarettes or any tobacco products;
Of particular interest is "b" above. Paragraph "b" makes persons-in-charge of public buildings and private businesses responsible to ask smokers to stop smoking in non designated areas and to report those who continue to violate the law:
Section 6(b) Persons-in-charge who knowingly allow, abet, authorize or tolerate the prohibited acts in Section 3 or who otherwise fail to fulfill the duties and obligations in Section 5 hereof.

Section 5(g) requires persons-in-charge to first warn smokers to stop and if they refuse to stop then they must be reported to the nearest city/municipal Health Office, police officer or member of the Smoke Free Task force.
A Smoke Free Task Force (SFTF) is to be created by each city/municipality. The SFTF may perform stings on businesses suspected of selling tobacco to minors and they also may roam around in plain clothes making sure that smokers are respecting non-smoking areas and citing those who break the law.

The Bottom Line

Since the passing of EO No. 26 I have been reading about and hearing about its implementation in numerous localities. At last it is being implemented in our own municipality. The rude loitering smokers billowing toxic fumes in your face when you exit any building have vanished. The kids buying cigarettes have disappeared. It is a very real and very welcome change.

I support the right of smokers to give themselves cancer in the privacy of their own homes, but they have no right to make the rest of us share their fate.

Public smoking is an extremely rude and selfish act. It is like spitting on people. You might catch something from being spit upon, but we know for a fact that second-hand smoke causes cancer and kills people. It also gets kids who grow up around it hooked for life.

I consider the implementation of Smoke Free Municipalities to be a very positive step and a giant leap into civilization.

How Do You Find God?

How Do You Find God?

Through logic?

Through evidence?

What does the Word of God say? 

The Just shall live by faith. Not by evidence. Not by logic.

We walk by faith not by sight.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

There will always be a gap between the evidence and Biblical truth.

Faith will always be the only bridge for that gap.

When you reject faith and look instead to the world and science for an answer you will find an answer.

You will find a wrong answer, because:

“There Is A Way That Seems Right To Man…” 

That is how God has designed the world and your life.

You simply must take the leap of faith and believe what God has said in His Word.

There is no other way to please God or to find God.

When you are a believer and you have faith everything is evidence of God.

Conversely, when you are lost nothing is evidence of God.

Faith is required for salvation and to restore you to God.

Proof destroys that. If there was real proof of God to be found through science or logic, then faith would not be required. The gap would be bridged by iron clad facts.

But that is not the reality we live in.

Faith And Faith Alone Pleases God 

And that faith begins with rejecting humanistic reasoning and accepting God at His Word in those things that seem impossible.

Faith in man’s devices, in your own devices, will never please God and can never find God’s truth.

To the saved person the logic gap in God’s account is an opportunity for faith.

To the lost it is a stumbling block.

Do not stumble in your faith.

There is an internal struggle that takes place when we are at the precipice of one of these very important Biblical assertions that seem to make no sense. Our human understanding wants to search for a way to make the pieces fit. 

When you find your self at one of those places just remember that faith is required. 

Stop looking for secular answers to insert in between what the Bible says or in place of what the Bible says. 

Insert faith instead.

Just believe God.