Press Release | 31 May 2022

The Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with Vital Strategies, and Smokefree Philippines, launched a campaign rallying for smoke-free beaches, parks, and tourist destinations in Boracay Island and Aklan. The campaign will have an eight-month duration starting today, coinciding with the celebration of World No Tobacco Day.

“In heeding our theme for this year’s celebrations to curb use of tobacco products, it is timely to shed light on the harms of tobacco to the environment. To further strengthen our campaign against the use of tobacco, we have included this initiative to protect our beaches, parks, and tourist destinations from the environmental ill-effects of this product. With this, we hope to further raise awareness and create new areas of impact in our overall effort to ensure the health of the Filipino people,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

Annually, around 4.5 trillion cigarettes become waste and 4.2 million cigarette butts end up on beaches and waterways. The Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a watchdog of the global tobacco industry, reiterates that the plastic and chemical contents in cigarette filters have been shown to exhibit detrimental effects to marine life and water quality.

This campaign aims to showcase Boracay, Palawan, Caramoan, and other premiere beach destinations as pilot areas for smoke-free beaches, beginning at the Station 2 of Boracay Beach, Malay, Aklan on World No Tobacco Day. This initiative is also in collaboration with SmokeFree Aklan, Action on Smoking and Health, and World Health Organization – Philippine Country Office.

“We hope that through the smoke-free beaches campaign, we unify the goal of the DOH to provide universal health care, which includes giving families an environment that lets them enjoy healthily without exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke,” added Secretary Duque.