Duterte signs EO on nationwide smoking ban in public places
Duterte signs EO on nationwide smoking ban in public places
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at a hotel in Phnom Penh Cambodia Ma
19 May, 2017, 20:53
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the executive order (EO) 26 that prohibits smoking in all public places nationwide.
MANILA-President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) that bans smoking in all public places, including public conveyances, throughout the Philippines.
The order will take effect 60 days after publication in newspapers of nationwide circulation.
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.
Around one quarter of the Philippines' population of 100 million people smoke, according to the World Health Organization, and is considered a leading cause of death in the country.
"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.
Duterte's campaign promises had centered on eradicating drug pushers, tough punishment for criminals and hitting hard on smoking and illegal gambling.
Philippine public health campaigners have been battling for a long time against the hefty tobacco lobby. While local municipalities can designate smoking areas, they must be a significant distance from such areas, as well as from health centers, food preparation areas, gas stations and health centers.
Under EO 26, each building must have a designated smoking area (DSA) where smoking may be allowed. It shall not be a defense for the person selling or distributing that he/she did not know or was not aware of the real age of minor.
It disallows minors to smoke, sell, or buy cigarettes or any other tobacco products.
It is also prohibited to sell or distribute these products in a school, public playground, youth hostels, and recreational facilities fo minors, including places where minors go frequently or within 100 meters from any point of these places.
Ubial said Duterte signed the executive order on Tuesday, which sets strict guidelines on designated areas where smoking is prohibited or may be allowed, with breaches attracting a maximum penalty of four months in jail and a fine up to 5,000 pesos (100 US dollars). Other studies indicate that two in five students are exposed to secondhand smoke while three in five students are exposed to smoking outside their homes.
"If you think it is high time for you to withdraw your assistance, go ahead, we will not beg for it", Duterte said in a speech in October, referring to aid from the U.S., European Union and other critics.
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