LGUs urged to help enforce smoking ban
The Department of Health (DOH) has urged local government units to put up their own “smoke-free task force” to help implement the nationwide smoking ban, which will begin on Sunday.
“We expect the LGUs to organize their own smoke-free task force. What is important is the LGUs and police are joining forces,” DOH spokesperson Enrique Tayag told a press briefing on Friday.
Executive Order No. 26, signed by President Duterte on May 16 mandates the designation of smoke-free public and enclosed places nationwide.
Covered by the ban are schools, recreational facilities, elevators, stairwells, areas with fire hazards, hospitals, clinics and food preparation areas.
Designated smoking areas are open spaces or separate areas with proper ventilation.
Under the EO, all cities and towns should form their respective smoke-free task force.
Tayag said the task force must be proportional to the population of the area.
“If the task force is small, you might have a difficult time to monitor. But if you have a big task force, you can deploy several teams to monitor compliance,” he said.
Anyone can volunteer to join the task force, including barangay personnel, traffic enforcers and government employees.
With the ban, the DOH expects at least 1.5 million Filipinos not to smoke or to break the habit altogether.
“Our projection is actually, in the next five years, we would have reduced the smoking prevalence in this country by another 8 percent. More or less, that is 1.5 million Filipinos, who will stop smoking or will not start smoking,” said Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial.
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