Bishops push smoking ban in church premises

MANILA, May 21, 2012— Three Catholic bishops have given their support to the anti-tobacco campaign and considering banning smoking within church premises in their dioceses.

Bishops Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, Jose Oliveros of Malolos, and Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao said they are concerned about the secondhand smoke and its effect on children.

“I am absolutely in favor to ban smoking even at the church premises, plaza, compound or patio. Smoking inside (the Church) is already banned,” said Bastes.

"I would highly recommend or favor the banning of smoking inside and outside church premises for a friendly and healthy atmosphere or surrounding," Ongtioco, for his part, said.

Smoking is being linked to illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, as well as chronic respiratory diseases like emphysema and diabetes.

“It is good policy to ask people not to smoke within church premises. Smokers do not only harm their health but others as well. It is also harmful to the ecology with the cigarette butts being thrown anywhere," Oliveros said.

Ongtioco and Oliveros earlier also favored the additional taxes on “sin products” such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages as a way to discourage consumption. [CBCPNews]