Philippines bans smoking

MANILA, May 19 – Saying that public health takes precedence over commercial or business interests, President Duterte has signed Executive Order No. 26, which imposes a nationwide ban on smoking in public places.

The President signed the order on May 16, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said yesterday. EO 26 will take effect 60 days after publication in a national newspaper.

Duterte also ordered the creation of a smoke-free task force in all cities and municipalities to help carry out the provisions of the order.

Members of the Philippine National Police and the task force are directed to carry out the EO’s provisions, including the apprehension of violators and the institution of criminal proceedings.

Duterte also directed the budget department to provide funding for the operations of the task force.

It cited that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to cigarette smoke cause death, disease and disability; impair health and lead to social, economic and environmental consequences; and place burdens on families, on the poor, and on national and local health systems.

In the eight-page order, the Palace also noted that an increasing number of Filipinos become afflicted with and die each year of tobacco-related diseases such as stroke, heart disease, emphysema, various cancers and nicotine addiction.

It added that the public and workers in places where smoking is allowed are most at risk from these and other tobacco-related disease.

The Philippines also aims to abide by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which it is a party, and thus give priority to the right to protect public health and promote measures of tobacco control.

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

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