Philippines' Duterte gets tough on tobacco with ban on smoking in public

19 Mai, 2017, 22:56 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Ambassador Franz Jessen. File

After months of delay, Malacañang on Thursday announced President Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) outlawing smoking in public areas, transforming a former Davao City ordinance into a national policy. Revocation of business permits is also possible.

Duterte had made his campaign vow to impose a nationwide smoking ban similar to what has always been implemented in Davao City, where he served as mayor for over two decades.

Duterte was himself a heavy smoker but quit when he was diagnosed as suffering from Buerger's disease, which can cause blockages in the blood vessels.

Abella said Duterte signed EO 26, which prohibits smoking in public places and public vehicles, whether stationary or in motion.

The Philippines already has a ban on tobacco advertising, as well as a law that requires graphic images of smoking health hazards to be printed on cigarette packaging.

Designated smoking areas not larger than 10 sq m (12 sq yards) will be set up for adults only and must be at least 10 metres (11 yards) from building entrances or exits, according to the order signed on Tuesday.

Police and smoke-free task forces were directed to apprehend violators.

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It also establishes a minimum age of 18-years-old to purchase, use, or sell tobacco products. 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.

A Philippine ban on smoking in public places received broad support on Friday, with anti-tobacco activists hailing it as a victory and some smokers saying they were now prepared to kick the habit.

Through EO 26, all public places will now be 100-percent smoke-free.

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.

The report, titled "Global Adult Tobacco Survey", estimated 21.5 percent, or 3.6 million of Filipino adults, were exposed to tobacco smoke in enclosed areas at the workplace and 34.7 percent, or 24 million of Filipino adults, in enclosed areas at home.

The group represents tobacco companies such as Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc, Fortune Tobacco Corp, British American Tobacco, JT International (Philippines) Inc, among others.

In 2015, the Philippines accounted for nearly one in every 13 cigarettes sold by Philip Morris globally, though analysts estimated that was worth about 2 percent of profit.

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