Domingo, 22 Octubre, 2017

Philippines' Duterte gets tough on tobacco with ban on smoking in public

Ambassador Franz Jessen. File Ambassador Franz Jessen. File
Danilo Martir | 19 May, 2017, 20:54

Smoking and selling cigarettes will be banned in all enclosed public places, as well as within 100 meters of schools, parks and other areas where children gather, according to the order published late Thursday and which takes effect in 60 days.

In October past year, Duterte said the nationwide executive order is patterned after the smoking ban that he imposed when he was mayor of Davao City, his home city in the southern Philippines. They have welcomed Duterte's push to end smoking in public.

"Scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco cause death, disease and disability, lead to devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences, and places burdens on families, on the poor, and on national and local health systems", Duterte said. "They will die of cancer if they continue to mess up with nicotine", Duterte said. Only about 9 percent of women in the Philippines smoke.

Under the EO, smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, are deemed unlawful act. These places include places like schools, elevators and stairwells, fire hazard locations, food preparation areas and medical facilities.

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"The EO will actually mandate all agencies of the government, including local government, to implement a 100-percent smoking ban in all public places".

The EO provides standards for a spot to be considered a designated smoking area (DSA), which may either be an open space or a separate area with proper ventilation.

Anyone under the age of 18 will be prohibited from entering.

The EO also stressed that DSAs should have no opening that will allow air to escape to smoke-free area of the building, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer.

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"The DSA shall not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in front of air intake ducts", the EO read.

The order also covers existing bans on tobacco advertisements, promotions or sponsorship that are subject to fines of up to 400,000 pesos along with a jail term of maximum three years.

Of particular intrigue in the order is a call on civilians to join a task force in helping carry out the order, including apprehending and charging violators.

Earlier, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial told CNN Philippines' The Source that the document, patterned after Davao's smoking ordinance, was submitted to the President on March 7 for signing.

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