CSC tightens policy on the designation of smoking areas on government offices

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, May 30 — The Civil Service Commission Regional Office 1 (CSC-RO1) in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH) conducted a whole day orientation-seminar recently which was participated in by representatives from the different government agencies in the region to raise awareness on the ill effects of cigarette smoking and to strengthen policy on the 100 percent smoke-free government offices.

According to Department of Health (DOH) Nurse Gaylene de Sesto, there are 6 million deaths a year worldwide due to smoking. In 2003, there were more than 23,000 deaths in the Philippines due to smoking and would continually grow if no action is taken.

“To promote wellness, health and morale of public servants, we have to strictly designate a proper smoking area in every government offices in accordance to the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2010-01,” Marichu Y. Cuison said during the orientation.

In review, the JMC is for the protection of the bureaucracy against tobacco industry interference. In connection to this, it is then a directive from CSC that all government agencies should designate a smoking area in every office.

Designated Smoking Area refers to a place that is open to the general public for smoking and should be an open space or separate area within the building with ventilation but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a non-smoking area.

However, government agencies that provide education, health and/or social welfare and development services like hospitals, health centers, schools, universities and colleges among others should strictly implement a non-smoking area, Cuison added.

Any person caught smoking in public places or outside the designated smoking areas shall be penalized according to the Republic Act 9211: first offense, a fine of not less than P500 but not more than P1,000 shall be imposed; second offense, a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P5,000 shall be imposed; and third offense, in addition to a fine of not less than P5,000 but not more than P10,000.

The CSC is a nominee for this year’s DOH Red Orchid Award – a Search for 100 percent Tobacco-Free Environments, which aims to protect people from the hazards of tobacco smoke and exposure to secondhand smoking. (ANL/MBR-PIA 1 La Union)

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