The Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority - Baguio City Economic Zone (PEZA - BCEZ), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), launched today a new campaign aimed at curbing smoking and reducing cases of tobacco-related diseases, dubbed as REVOLUTION SMOKE-FREE.

Across the Western Pacific region, REVOLUTION SMOKE-FREE urges the private sector to commit to smoke-free workplaces and encourage their employees to quit smoking. Prior to its launch in Baguio, the campaign has been rolled out in different cities across Asia.
“Revolution Smoke-Free envisions a future where all types of workplaces from different industries are free from tobacco smoke,” said WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Gundo Weiler. “Business leaders are at the forefront of progress and innovation. As drivers of change in their industries, they have the power to spur a movement towards a future with healthier and safer working environments.”

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza is leading the charge to creating a community of private companies supporting healthier workplaces for their employees.
“Revolution Smoke Free is part of the revolution I am implementing in PEZA. Baguio City Economic Zone as a model smoke-free ecozone, is the first in the Philippines in support of the city government of Baguio and endorsed by its locators. As part of its best practices, PEZA will require other economic zones nationwide to follow this example as this is a living testimony to how we can show concern for the health and welfare of our employees, their families, and the entire nation,” stated Director General Plaza.

Companies in BCEZ had been invited to pledge their support during the launch. After a year of implementation, those who had shown measurable outputs in establishing a smoke-free workplace will be recognized jointly by PEZA and DOH.

The City of Baguio was chosen as the venue for the launch because of the alignment of the campaign’s objective to the City’s commitment to prioritize public health through the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Baguio City.
“We believe we must act with urgency to denormalize the culture of smoking and tobacco consumption not only in our economic zone but across the city so we can save the lives of our people,” Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan stated.

On the other hand, to support the Baguio-based companies and their employees towards healthier workplaces, DOH relaunched its smoking cessation program, “mReady2Quit!.” This is an initiative of DOH with the support of WHO Philippines which is accessible through Facebook messenger. It integrates technology into health service delivery systems, creating more accessible means for the public to actively seek out health interventions.

“By venturing into the Facebook platform we have a better chance of realizing our goal of reaching more Filipinos – not just the smokers who want to quit, but also their families and friends who can provide support in their journey,” DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III explained. “Through these convergence of efforts of the government and the private sector, services are made more accessible to those who need it and an environment is created where people are informed and empowered to avail of the services they so urgently need.”