DOH readies nationwide smoking ban
The Department of Health (DOH) is preparing to enforce a nationwide ban on smoking, inspired by the success of such a ban in Davao City that started when President Duterte was still the city’s mayor.
The nationwide smoking ban, according to Dr. Enrique Tayag, would be enforced starting on July 23.
“Those who cannot comply with the requirements of the smoking ban might end up as an example of an offender,” said Tayag, spokesperson for the DOH, also the lead implementing agency of the ban as mandated by Executive Order (EO) No. 26.
Tayag said the public and establishments must heed the President’s executive order or face penalties.
EO 26 mandated the designation of smoke-free public and enclosed areas nationwide.
It was supposed to take effect 60 days after May 24, when it was supposed to have been published in a newspaper of general circulation.
Mr. Duterte’s EO listed areas where smoking would be prohibited. These include schools and recreational facilities for minors, elevators and stairwells, areas with fire hazards, hospitals and clinics, and kitchens and other areas for food preparation.
Establishments, like restaurants and bars, should heed the EO’s provisions to avoid being penalized, Tayag said.
The EO requires establishments to put up “No Smoking” signs that measure at least 8 by 11 inches (20.3 by 27.9 cm), with a “No Smoking” symbol occupying at least 60 percent of the sign.
Tayag also suggested that establishments should display signs that said “Designated Smoking Area” with graphic warnings on smoking’s harmful effects on health.
The EO said areas where smoking was allowed should be open or rooms with adequate ventilation and separated from other rooms.
“There should also be a buffer zone in designated smoking areas,” Tayag said.
Tayag also said the EO could be implemented without implementing rules and regulations, or IRR, that are normally required for the enforcement of new laws.
“An IRR is not necessary in implementing the smoking ban,” Tayag said.
“However, we still hope to come up with it in order to clarify some provisions of the EO,” he added.
Health and antismoking advocates have been lobbying the President to duplicate nationwide the successful smoking ban that he so zealously enforced in Davao City as mayor, that an unverified report spread about him punishing a violator by making the smoker swallow his cigarette.
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