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19 May 2017, 08:54 | Rodolfo Wallace
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the media Ne
People who smoke in public could face a four-month prison sentence or a $100 fine after a decree passed by Rodrigo Duterte aims to clamp down on those who light up.
MANILA-President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) that bans smoking in all public places, including public conveyances, throughout the Philippines.
"Scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco cause death, disease and disability, lead to devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences, and places burdens on families, on the poor, and on national and local health systems", Duterte said.
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.
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Under the EO, smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, are deemed unlawful act.
These locations include schools, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for minors among others.
It sets the standards for designated smoking areas, limitations of minors in using, selling or buying cigarettes, and limitations on selling these products in places where minors are.
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Also covered are public conveyances such as elevators, planes, ships, buses, taxicabs, trains, tricycles and other similar vehicles, according to Medialdea.
The EO, however, still allow smokers to puff cigarette in designated smoking areas (DSAs).
Duterte had earlier previous year promised to crack down on vices such as smoking and illegal gambling.
DSAs should not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in from of air intake ducts.
The Order also reinforces the Republic Act (RA) No. 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which "prohibits the purchase and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to and by minors and in certain places frequented by minors".
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.
In January Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said the President had asked her to draft the EO prohibiting smoking in public areas for a "100-percent smoke-free environment".
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