Health Care

Duterte bans smoking in public areas

Duterte bans smoking in public areas

A new smoking ban is coming to the Philippines, as President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order this week to prohibit smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in all public places, including on sidewalks.

Duterte, a firebrand leader most famous for waging a war on drugs in which thousands of people have died, had promised immediately after becoming president past year to introduce the smoking ban as part of a range of measures to impose more order on society.

Duterte also directed the budget department to provide funding for the operations of the task force. "That ain't the way", Duterte said at the time, saying that smoking can lead to diseases like cancer.

Even an industry lobby group, the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI), said it supported the regulation and acknowledged the health objectives.

For a DSA inside an enclose space, there shall be no opening that would allow air to escape into smoke-free area of a building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer.

It prohibits persons-in-charge from allowing, abetting or tolerating smoking in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of designated smoking areas.

The seller of the cigarette could also not claim that he did not know that the cigarette product was for the consumption of the minor to defend himself, the EO says.

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The ban also includes vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes.

"Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors, hostel and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by them, or in an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products", one of the provisions of the order reads.

Duterte's campaign promises had centered on eradicating drug pushers, tough punishment for criminals and hitting hard on smoking and illegal gambling.

"More will be saved from debilitating diseases and premature deaths and this executive order supports other tobacco control initiatives, such as the graphic health warning law", Mr Rojas said.

He cited studies that showed there are Filipino children below 15 years who are already smoking cigarettes and that this number continues to grow.

A 2014 report by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance shows that there are about 17 million Filipino smokers, or almost a third of the adult population.


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