Monday , June 18, 2018

Duterte signs EO on smoking ban

MANILA (Updated) -- President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the executive order (EO) 26 that prohibits smoking in all public places nationwide.

The EO on nationwide smoking ban was signed on Tuesday, May 16, said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Through EO 26, all public places will now be 100-percent smoke-free.

"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.

"An increasing number of Filipinos become afflicted with and die each year of tobacco-related diseases such as stroke, heart diseases, emphysema, various cancers and nicotine addiction, and both the public and workers in facilities are most at risk from these and other tobacco-related diseases," he added.

Under the EO, smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, are deemed unlawful act.

The order defines public places as "all places, fixed or mobile, that are accessible or open to the public or for collective use, regardless of ownership or right to access."

This includes but is not limited to schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishment that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment or other services.

It also includes outdoor spaces where facilities are available for the public, such as playgrounds, sports centers, church grounds, hospital compounds, transportation terminals, markets, parks, resorts, sidewalks, entrance ways, and waiting areas.

Public conveyances, on the other hand, refers to "modes of transportation servicing the general population" like elevators, airplanes, ships, jeepneys, buses, taxi cabs, trains, light rail transits, and tricycles.

The EO, however, still allow smokers to puff cigarette in designated smoking areas (DSAs).

The DSAs must display "highly visible" illustrations of "smoking area" signage, graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use, and prohibition on the entry of below 18 years of age.

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.

The DSAs should not also be located in or within 10 minutes from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass, or in front of air intake ducts.

The EO, however, turned down DSAs in centers of youth activity; elevators and stairwells; locations in which fire hazards are present; and within public and private hospitals.

The EO also disallowed purchase of tobacco products among minors, as well as advertising cigarettes within 100 meters from places frequented particularly by minors.

Duterte also tasked all cities and municipalities to create a local smoke-free task force to help carry out the order's provision.

Police and smoke-free task forces were directed to apprehend violators.

The EO on smoking ban all throughout the country is patterned after no smoking policy in Davao City when he was still the city's mayor.

Duterte has sought the no-smoking policy in the country, noting that smoking only brings disease not only to the smokers but also to the victims of second-hand smoke. (SunStar Philippines)