THE Department of Health has urged the PBA to take necessary action after Ginebra team governor and San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua was seen on national television smoking an e-cigarette during the Kings' game against Blackwater over the weekend.
DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said that although laws on the use of e-cigarettes in public places have yet to be established, the pro league should take it upon itself to make sure a team official refrains from acts that could set a bad example to the viewing public, especially minors.
"Yung paninigarilyo in full view of everybody, walang batas na bawal ka manigarilyo sa harap ng mga bata, ginagawa naman kasi ng iba sa harap ng bahay yan eh," Lee Suy told Spin.ph. "Wala talagang batas na bawal manigarilyo, although in certain areas meron talaga na ipinagbabawal.
"Pero para sa akin, mas maganda nga sana kung mismong PBA na o 'yung asosasyon na miyembro siya ang mismong manita na (sa naging action niya)," he added.
Chua was caught a couple of times on television using an e-cigarette during timeout huddles on the Ginebra bench during the team's 102-94 double-overtime win over Blackwater on Saturday at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles City.
The incident has not escaped the eyes of fans who took to social media to hit out at Chua's act, including blogger Alvin Fadul who wrote about it in a piece for Hoops.ph.
At posting time, PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa has yet to make a public statement about it.
Suy bared that a study by the country's health agency to assess the harmful effects of smoking e-cigarettes, which many individuals like Chua have turned to after quitting tobacco smoking, has yet to be finished.
Dr. Fernando Ayuyao, head of the Philippine Heart Center's pulmonary and critical care medicine division, said no conclusive studies have so far been released regarding the ill-effects of e-cigarettes, which comes in different flavors and kicks.
"Iba iba kasi ang nakalagay sa e-cigarette eh, may nicotine may wala. So hindi pa sila uniform sa kung ano ang effect nito," said Ayuyao.
"Sa ngayon kasi hindi pa conclusive ang studies, kasi hindi pa tapos ang research."
Still, Suy insisted a public figure like Chua being seen puffing an e-cigarette in a very public place before a national television audience does not set a good example and does not speak well of a sports league like the PBA that supposedly promotes a healthy lifestyle.
"Syempre, hindi magandang modelo eh, considering the fact na ang event na 'yan eh basketball, na supposedly, nagpo-promote ng healthy lifestyle. Parang nagiging in conflict," he said
"Although, sasabihin nila na 'e-cigarette lang ito, hindi ito talagang sigarilyo na may nicotine at kung ano-ano, pero the idea itself, may hinithit ka, hindi maganda sa mga bata. Parang na-e-encourage ang smoking run eh," added Suy.
"Sana wag na maulit ang ganyan, kasi pag may nakikitang naninigarilyo, malaking epekto nun eh. Sabi nga nila, gagayahin ng mga bata ang mga nakikita sa mga matatanda. Kahit sabihin mong e-cigarette 'yan, it is promoting the act of smoking. Sana maging discrete."
Here's a video of Chua caught on TV vaping during the game:
"Dapat hindi ginagawa yan in public lalo na kung figure ka kasi baka gayahin ka ng mga bata," he said.
Businessman Ivan Paner, who also uses e-cigarettes, said he is also against the action of Chua.
"Hindi kami approve sa vaping community sa naging action nya. Todo bash siya dun sa online community (Bulak Boys Vapers) namin. Maling mali kasi eh. Don't vape where you can't smoke, kasi hindi lahat ng tao nagyoyosi at hindi nagve-vape," said Paner.
"Kasi hindi lahat ng tao, gusto yung nauusukan. Saka respeto naman sa mga katabi mo. Mas nakakailang rin kasi ang usok ng vape, mas makapal eh. Kaya kami sa community, may sarili kaming rules, basta no smoking zone, di kami vape," he added.
"Tapos 'yung status niya (Chua) pa, mataas yung ranggo niya sa San Miguel at PBA, tapos gagawin mo 'yun."