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Balanga City launches tobacco-free generation

Written by
  • Perla E.
  • 8 years ago

BALANGA CITY, BataanAbout 15,000 people joined the grand zumba held Wednesday afternoon at the four-lane road here that signaled the launching of the Tobacco Free Generation (TFG) movement in Bataan’s component city.

The participants, composed of children and adults from 25 barangays, public and private schools and civic organizations in the city filled the 2.2-kilometer long four-lane road that stretches from the MacArthur Highway to the Roman Expressway.

“Balanga City has done something that the world will look into for decades. It is the first municipality in the world to do tobacco-free generation ordinance,” said Dr. Heng Nung Koong, lung surgeon from Singapore.

Koong has for his advocacy the protection of the future generation against cigarettes. He urged the youth never to use cigarettes. “It is bad before or after age 18,” he said. He added that those already addicted to smoking must be given assistance through counseling and other support.

“We are one in the purpose of this activity. My wife and I have long been espousing that smoking be stopped because many are dying from it. It is not only the smokers who are affected but even those who inhale second hand smoke,” former Senator Orly Mercado said. Mercado and wife, Koong and wife and Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III and wife joined the zumba that lasted from 3:00 p.m. to almost dusk.

The mayor said that the World Health Organization has recognized TFG as one of the effective tools to help the youth to stay away from cigarettes. Garcia said that Balanga became a city on December 30, 2000 and within the millennium generation. The city has launched an aggressive anti-smoking campaign and has received various awards from the Department of Health and international bodies.

“With the launching of Tobacco Free Generation, all those born in 2000 and up will commit not to smoke to stop deaths from cigarettes,” the mayor said. He said that the orientation conducted by Koong among students has good feed-back. “Naniniwala ang maraming kabataan na dapat umiwas na sila sa paninigarilyo” Garcia added.

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