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City to put up smoking cessation clinics

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
September 17, 2009

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The three Rural Health Unites (RHUs) around the city will soon have a smoking cessation clinic each.

Simply put, this clinic will help people in the business of quitting smoking, gradually if needed, but the desired end must be to stop puffing cigarettes for good.

The eventual establishment of these anti-smoking clinics has been the offshoot of the week-long Smoking Cessation Seminar held last month at Ampil Pensionne this city, said Engr. Othello Rich, City Planning Director and Coordinator of Healthy City Initiatives (HCI).

During a recent bi-weekly “Maasin City In Action” block time program over DYDM, Engr. Rich said the seminar was actively participated by HCI enforcers, non-government organizations, physicians and nurses from the Department of Education (DepEd), and the religious sectors.

An output of the activity was the formation of a technical working group (TWG) that would serve as the overseer of the city’s smoking cessation program.

With the creation of the smoking cessation clinics, members of the TWG would serve as counselors and facilitators in advising people how to stop smoking, especially those who really want to but cannot just kick it off.

Engr. Rich said the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) had recognized the measures undertaken by the city government to promote the health of its constituents, and cited the campaign against smoking among these health-promoting initiatives.

Earlier, City Mayor Maloney Samaco had imposed a total smoking ban in the city jail as part of the rehabilitation process of prisoners.

The move caught the attention of other local chief executives who copied the Mayor’s example and, before long, the rest of the LGUs around Eastern Visayas followed suit, reported DYDM news anchor Zaldy Olita.

Mayor Samaco also initiated the printing and wide distribution of no-smoking stickers in all passenger vehicles in the city, and posted huge tarpaulins in public places in a serious attempt to create awareness and make Maasin a smoke-free city.

Next month, the city will vie for the Red Orchid Awards for 100% Smoke-free LGU, it was learned.