The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte inks executive order banning smoking

May 18, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order banning smoking in public and enclosed places nationwide. Executive Order No. 26 signed on May 16 stated that "public health takes precedence over any commercial business interest. "In order to minimize access, particularly of minors, to tobacco products and in order to provide a more supportive environment for those who are attempting to quit tobacco use, there is a need to strengthen existing measures on access restriction, including regulation of sales, distribution and availability, and the measures prescribed under the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control)," Duterte said in the EO. It said sales or distribution of tobacco products to minors is unlawful. The order allows smoking only in "designated smoking area (DSA)," which could be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation subject to specific standards. Among the standards of the DSA include "no opening" that will allow air to escape to the smoke-free areas of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer; and it shall not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits or any place where people pass or congregate, or in front of air intake ducts. If the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone. The combined areas of the DSA and the buffer zone shall not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building or conveyance, provided that in no case shall such area be less than 10 square meters; no building or conveyance shall have more than one DSA. The ventilation system for the DSA other than in an open space and for the buffer zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems services the rest of the building or conveyance; minors shall not be allowed inside the DSA and the buffer zone. The DSA shall have signages of "smoking area" (graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use, prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old) and prominently displayed. The EO said there shall be no DSAs in public places such as centers of youth activity like playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors; and withing the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories, among others. Violators of the EO shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9211 or the " Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003" and other applicable laws. The EO also provides for the creation of Smoke-Free Task Force in all cities and municipalities. Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police and Smoke-Free Task Forces to carry out the provisions of the Order, including the apprehension of violators and the institution of criminal proceedings against them. The Department of Budget and Management is tasked to identify the necessary funding to implement to Order, which will take effect 60 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation. (Celerina Monte/DMS)