PRRD signs executive order on nationwide smoking ban

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The executive order, signed by Duterte on May 16, declared all public places throughout the country as off limits to smoking, whether indoor or outdoor, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said on Thursday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order imposing a nationwide smoking ban for public places, a senior aide has said.

Duterte, a former smoker who quit after developing health problems, implemented a similar ban in Davao City in 2002, when he was the city's mayor. This may be in an open space, or a separate area with proper ventilation.

The smoking ban is imposed in all enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, unless identified as designated smoking areas.

Duterte has sought the no-smoking policy in the country, noting that smoking only brings disease not only to the smokers but also to the victims of second-hand smoke. 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.

The DSAs should not also be located in or within 10 minutes from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass, or in front of air intake ducts.

The seller of the cigarette could also not claim that he did not know that the cigarette product was for the consumption of the minor to defend himself, the EO says.

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

It prohibits persons-in-charge from allowing, abetting or tolerating smoking in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of designated smoking areas. The order also includes hefty punishments - including jail time - for anyone caught advertising or providing tobacco products to minors.

The new order also puts tight restrictions on where tobacco products can be advertised.

Selling or distributing tobacco in a school, public playground, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by minors, or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places.

Philippine public health campaigners have long battled the hefty tobacco lobby and welcomed Duterte's push to end smoking in public.

Local government units are also enjoined to develop, promote and implement their respective Local Smoking Cessation Programs.

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