Duterte to ban pub­lic smok­ing

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

MANILA: Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte ( pix) will this month ban smok­ing in pub­lic, the health depart­ment said yes­ter­day, fur­ther strength­en­ing some of the tough­est to­bacco reg­u­la­tion in Asia.

Duterte has waged a ruth­less law and or­der cam­paign since July that has left over 3,000 peo­ple dead while, as a long-time mayor of Davao city, he im­posed cur­fews on mi­nors, banned pub­lic al­co­hol sales at night and rounded up shirt­less men.

The up­com­ing law is in ad­di­tion to leg­is­la­tion ban­ning to­bacco ad­ver­tis­ing and reg­u­lat­ing smok­ing in in­door pub­lic places, as well as a statute that re­quires graphic im­ages of smok­ing health haz­ards to be printed on cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing.

“There has been a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in smok­ing, but the re­duc­tion has been slow,” as­sis­tant health sec­re­tary Eric Tayag said.

“We want to have in place all the tools that are needed to ex­pand this cam­paign.”

Tayag said the new drive was prompted by Duterte who, in 2002, banned smok­ing in all pub­lic places in Davao.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion said 20.6% of the Philip­pine pop­u­la­tion smoked as of 2013, 10 years af­ter the to­bacco reg­u­la­tion act was passed.

The coun­try of 101 mil­lion also re­mained one of 15 na­tions world­wide with a heavy bur­den of to­bacco-re­lated ill health, it said. The ex­ist­ing law bans smok­ing in in­door pub­lic places in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment build­ings, hos­pi­tals and schools as well as on pub­lic trans­port.

Bars and night­clubs are re­quired to set aside des­ig­nated smok­ing ar­eas, but smok­ing out­doors is not reg­u­lated.

Tayag said the planned ex­ec­u­tive or­der would plug that gap by only al­low­ing smok­ing out­doors at the back of build­ings “where there are no peo­ple”.

For those who defy the ban, penal­ties in­clude prison, fines and com­mu­nity ser­vice or a com­bi­na­tion of the three. – AFP

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