Duterte signs executive order on nationwide smoking ban

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the media Ne

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order that bans smoking in all public places in the Philippines, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said on Thursday.

Both Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) confirmed that Duterte signed the EO last May 16. They have welcomed Duterte's push to end smoking in public.

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.

Under the EO, smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, are deemed unlawful act.

The EO, however, bars the establishment of DSAs in schools, hospitals, clinics, food preparation areas, and locations in which fire hazards are present.

Other measures included a ban on singing karaoke at night and a 2 a.m. curfew on drinking alcohol in public, although these have yet to be implemented.

Also covered are public conveyances such as elevators, planes, ships, buses, taxicabs, trains, tricycles and other similar vehicles, according to Medialdea.

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The smoking ban also covers "vaping" or the use of electronic cigarettes and will apply in casinos, including gaming floors and entertainment rooms, and inside airport buildings, except in designated outdoor smoking areas.

Anyone under the age of 18 will be prohibited from entering.

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.

The DSA is also barred from being located within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in front of air intake ducts. It also says that ordering, instructing or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote these products are not allowed.

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.

The EO on smoking ban all throughout the country is patterned after no smoking policy in Davao City when he was still the city's mayor.

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.

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