PUBLIC health advocacy group, Health Justice Philippines, was elated Sunday over the plan of presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte to impose a nationwide smoking ban.

Health Justice managing director Irene Reyes said they are already looking forward to the time that Duterte makes true to his pronouncements.

“We are excited about his (Duterte) plan to make the Philippines practically smoke-free. For the longest time, Filipinos have been suffering from the effects of inhaling second-hand smoke everywhere,” said Reyes.

She noted how a nationwide “no smoking” policy will certainly help protect millions of Filipinos against the harms caused by second-hand smoke.

“No one should be forced to inhale second-hand smoke. No one should be allowed to irresponsibly put another person’s life in peril,” said Reyes.

Earlier, Duterte bared his plan to replicate the no smoking policy, which he has long imposed in Davao City, on a nationwide scale.

Under Duterte’s plan, there will be a ban on smoking in enclosed public areas nationwide with “smoking rooms” being prohibited.

Smoking, meanwhile, will only be allowed on the streets that are 50 meters away from establishments.

In a separate statement, the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) similarly welcomed the plans of Duterte.

“The smoke-free places implementation in Davao City being scaled up on a nationwide setting is simply laudable and the New Vois fully supports this pronouncement of presumptive President Mayor Duterte,” said NVAP president Emer Rojas.

He noted how such a policy being implemented in the country would bode well for the fight versus smoking-related illnesses.

“As cancers brought about by smoking and second-hand smoke continue to rise due to the prevalent use of cigarettes in the past years, it is high time we put a stop to this rising cancer trend,” said Rojas.

Smoking-related diseases kill an estimated 10 Filipinos an hour and 87,600 Filipinos every year, according to The Tobacco Atlas.

In addition, exposure to second-hand smoke increases the chance of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

Aside from lung cancer, other smoking-related illnesses include cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, and stroke. (HDT/Sunnex)