The threat of secondhand smoke remains high in the country because of local officials’ inaction and passiveness, according to the Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control–Philippines (FCAP).
“Many local government units (LGU) opt not to implement the ban on smoking in public places,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, FCAP executive director.
According to her, many local officials have continuously disregarded the provisions of Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which imposes a smoking ban in several public places.
The newly signed Executive Order (EO) No. 26, which bans smoking in all public and enclosed places, can be a big help in pressing LGUs to do their part in prohibiting smoking in public, she said.
“This EO comes at an opportune time as it orders all LGUs to really protect the public’s health against the ill effects of secondhand smoke because the President is really serious about this,” Limpin added.
Last May 16, President Duterte signed EO 26 which fulfills his campaign promise of providing a smoke-free environment nationwide.
Based on the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Philippines, secondhand smoke exposure was highly prevalent at 86 percent in public places, particularly in bars and nightclubs.
It was also found to be prevalent in public transportation at 38 percent; followed by restaurants at 22 percent.
Other public places where secondhand smoke was present were government buildings at 13 percent; schools at 11 percent; and healthcare facilities at 4 percent.
Secondhand smoke exposure was also found to be high in workplaces at 21.5 percent; while exposure to it at home was at 35 percent, according to the 2015 GATS.