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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, August 1 (PIA) - Getting the highest recognition in the country for successful implementation in anti-smoking campaign is no fun.

Being a Hall of Fame awardee in anti-smoking campaign where Maasin City got the prestigious Red Orchid Awards for three consecutive years, took a herculean cigarrette -buster Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco, whose ardent desire is to create a healthy and smoke- free city.

"Just like in a family, the father will muster all efforts to raise a healthy family. Hence, my passion to avert my constituents to suffer unnecessarily the hazards brought about by more than 400 deadly chemicals components in a cigarette hurting ones health," Mayor Samaco said.

Smoking ban is also implemented at the city jail.

Maasin City jail boarders had mixed reactions on the smoke ban but the good mayor was bent to cleanse the congested reformatory institution from the cigarette-smokes from among the jail boarders.

From then on, Mayor Samaco intensified the smoking ban as it spreads like wild fire, getting into the premises of Maasin City Hall and all the public places in the city.

He reported that about 88 out of 600 city employees were found smoking heavily at the first monitoring. It was later reduced to 40 smoking employees, who were all ushered to clinical cessation assistance at the City Health Units.

Currently, there are only 5 of them who could not stop smoking, however, they no longer smoke at the premises of city halls but at their homes only, he noted.

Public and private schools also ban smoking in the area.

Much to the relief of the parents, students both from the public and private schools also ban students from smoking within the school premises, though, it cannot be denied that there are still students who are still but outside the school premises.

The Maasin City College pledged to ban smoking within the school premises, wherein students found bringing cigarette lighters and matches were not allowed to get into the school campus.

One time, the said school inaugurated their new conference hall, they hardly lighted their candles since there were no matches nor lighters to be found from among the students and teaching staff.

No less than Mayor Samaco visited the public elementary schools to orient the schoolchildren of the health hazards of smoking especially at homes. He even coached the children not to buy cigarettes for their parents when told to. That this is embodied in RA 9211 and City Ordinance 2009-042. This is his way to reach the smokers at home which are private places!

Several times he himself got down from his vehicle just to stop students,who are caught red handed while smoking along the streets and personally brought them to their school principals and made to pledge not to smoke again.

Superstores, sari-sari stores are banned to sell cigarettes.

The Metro Gaisano Hiper Market, Prince Marketing, among the superstores in the locality closed down their cigarette stands when Mayor Samaco himself requested to ban all the stores in the city from selling cigarettes especially if their locations is within the 100-radius of schools' perimeters.

After cutting the source of cigarettes in the city, sari-sari stores owners got their supplies from the next town.

Recently, three sari-sari stores were padlocked until they were able to pay P5,000 fines for selling cigarettes after several requests from the City Health Initiative Task Force to stop from selling cigarettes in their barangays.

Some of the store owners were said to be avid supporters of the mayor, but the law excuses no one in his anti-smoking campaign.