‘Sponge’: New drive vs smoking

ROXAS City — The city government and the provincial government of Capiz launched a new campaign to warn the public against the dangers of tobacco use.

Dubbed “Sponge,” the new campaign was launched in view of the No Smoking Month celebration, said June Regalado, manager of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Programme here.

The Department of Health (DOH), with the support of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, World Lung Foundation (WLF) and the provincial government of Capiz, developed “Sponge,” Regalado said in a press conference Monday.

Human lungs have been likened to giant sponges that can absorb a lot of tar. Tar is a resinous matter that accumulates in and the damages the lungs of smokers.

The new campaign has been tested rigorously among a focus group in 2008. According to Regalado, it will be aired over local television and radio stations and outdoor venues this month.

The campaign has already been aired in Australia, China, India, Mauritius, Russia and Ukraine, among other countries.

The Philippine version aims to inform cigarette smokers in Capiz about the serious impact of tobacco on their health, and to motivate them to quit smoking before they get sick.

The campaign is different from the Blue Ribbon Campaign which was also launched in this city.

The Blue Ribbon Campaign aims to honor stakeholders for supporting a smoke-free community. Roxas City has received the Red Orchid Award from the DOH twice for having a “100-percent smoke-free environment.”

“Our government is committed to reducing the toll tobacco takes on our community,” said DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Rosell-Ubial. “This campaign (‘Sponge’) uses a scientific approach to deliver a clear message about the poisonous chemicals in cigarettes.”

Research showed that one of the most effective means to encourage people to stop smoking is through mass media campaigns.

A mass media drive is also one of the WHO’s MPOWER strategies to reduce tobacco consumption.
The MPOWER strategies are:
  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco
The Bloomberg Initiative — of which the WLF is a principal partner — promotes the MPOWER strategies.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and it is responsible for more than five million deaths each year — one in 10 preventable deaths worldwide.

In the Philippines, 17.3 million adults currently smoke (28.3 percent) and 54.4 percent of adults were exposed to tobacco smoke in the home in the past month.

City Health Officer Dr. Amelita Robles and City Health Office personnel Fe Salgado and Medical Specialist IV Dr. Evelyn Bolido also attended the press conference (Felipe Celino/PN)
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About Capiz Provincial Press Bureau

Capiz Provincial Press Bureau works hand in hand with the TANCO Administration to appropriately disseminate the accomplishments/achievements of the provincial government.
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