MANILA, Philippines - Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte implemented his major campaign promise by signing an executive order banning smoking in public places nationwide.
Confirming the nationwide smoking ban, the country’s Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that Duterte had signed the executive order.
Ubial added that the signing of the Executive Order 26 was planned to be timed with the celebration of World No Tobacco Day.
During his campaign, Duterte had vowed to impose the nationwide smoking ban in line with a similar ban that has been long been implemented in Davao City, where the president served as mayor for over two decades.
The order titled “Providing for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed spaces,” listed as a prohibited act smoking in “enclosed public spaces and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, except in DSA (designated smoking areas).”
The tough speaking president ignored criticism to his policy arising from the tobacco industry.
According to reports, the executive order provides standards for a spot to be considered a designated smoking area (DSA) that may either be an open space or a separate area with proper ventilation.
It specified that the DSA shall also have a non-smoking buffer zone and that the combined area for a DSA and its buffer zone should not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building or conveyance.
Further, it points out that the DSA is also barred from being located within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass, or in front of air intake ducts.
The order said that minors would be prohibited from DSAs, and selling, distributing, or purchasing tobacco products to and from minors are also prohibited.
In addition, it bars the establishment of DSAs in schools, hospitals, clinics, food preparation areas, and locations in which fire hazards are present.
It warned that those who found to have violated the EO shall be punished in accordance with applicable penalties under Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.