THE revised ordinance regulating the use and sale of electronic cigarette in public places was approved on third and final reading by the Bacolod City Council on Wednesday, May 10.
Authored by Councilor Caesar Distrito, chairperson on committee on laws, the resolution was supported by Councilors Ricardo Tan, Cindy Rojas, Em Ang, Elmer Sy, Ana Marie Palermo, Dindo Ramos, and Bartolome Orola.
Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., who earlier questioned the revised ordinance which he claimed originated from his own ordinance, objected its passage.
Gamboa asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government for clarification and legal opinion on the revision of the ordinance.
The ordinance stated that in order to fully protect the health and welfare of the citizens of Bacolod City and at the same time safeguard the interests of all stakeholders, including smokers who have the right to choose less harmful alternatives to cigarettes, there is a need to pass an evidence-based ordinance regulating the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and conveyances, including its advertising and promotion, in line with the latest studies on this class of products.
The said ordinance needs to be revised and included with provisions that will strengthen its effectiveness in terms of regulating the use and sale of electronic cigarettes in the City of Bacolod, it further stated.
Among the major differences of Distrito’s ordinance compared to the previous ordinance includes the definition of terms in which only the definition of “minor” is the same.
The revised ordinance has 17 terms while the previous ordinance has 11 terms defined.
Section 3 of the revised ordinance stated that the use of e-cigarettes indoors is prohibited in places of worship, hospitals or other healthcare centers, public conveyances, government offices, and educational or recreational facilities primarily intended for minors.
Section 4 of the revised ordinance also stated that in all enclosed places that are open to the general public, and private workplaces, and other places not covered by Section 3 of this ordinance, such areas may include a designated vaping area within the building, which may be in an open space, or in a separate area with proper ventilation, but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a smoking area.