Philippine organisation calls for smoke-free workplaces

HealthJustice Philippines has urged the government to enforce smoke-free workplaces in a bid to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
By: | May 17, 2021

The non-profit organisation cited findings from a handbook which showed a correlation between smoking and lower respiratory tract infection like the COVID-19 virus. 

The handbook was jointly published by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and stakeholders from the different medical societies in the Philippines. 

The handbook, which contains information on the COVID-19 virus, said that: 

  • It has been shown that the COVID-19 virus may be transmitted through exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Smokers are likely to be more susceptible to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with the lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth.
  • Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouth pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.
  • Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness and higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia.

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Lawyer Jacky Sarita, executive director of HealthJustice Philippines, also said government offices should be kept 100% smoke-free as stated in the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular (MC) 17, s. 2009 or the “Smoking Prohibition Based on 100% Smoke-Free Policy”, according to BusinessMirror.