DOH hopes EO on smoking ban out by end-October

Jee Y. Geronimo
DOH hopes EO on smoking ban out by end-October
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial bares more details of the draft executive order being reviewed by the Office of the President during a budget hearing at the Senate

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) hopes the executive order on a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places will be issued by the end of October, or before the full implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings Law.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial revealed more details of the draft EO on Tuesday, October 11, during her department’s budget hearing at the Senate. (READ: EO on nationwide smoking ban ready for Duterte’s signature)

“[The EO is with the] Office of the President right now, and we hope it will be issued by the end of month, before the full implementation of the graphic health warning law which is November 4,” Ubial said.

Under Republic Act 10643 or the Graphic Health Warnings Law, retailers and sellers of tobacco products shall ensure the removal from their displays all  noncompliant tobacco products manufactured, imported, distributed, or sold by them starting November 4.

The law took effect on March 3 – almost two years after former President Benigno Aquino III signed it in July 2014. (READ: DOH releases templates for scary cigarette packs)

On Tuesday, Ubial said President Rodrigo Duterte directed her to include “two very important provisions” in the draft EO:

  1. 100% smoke-free environment
  2. All designated smoking areas should be outdoors and away from the public

The President’s directive, Ubial said, is to implement what Davao City implements.

“In public places, they designate a smoking area away from the public. [This could be the] back of a hotel, or a parking area where no public will be exposed [to cigarette smole],” she added.

Senator Nancy Binay asked if smoking will also be banned inside casinos, but Ubial said they “will still work it out with implementing agencies” or national government agencies.

“Why an exemption?” Senator Loren Legarda asked Ubial. “It can’t be just cooperating [local government units], they can refuse.”

Binay then asked about details on penalties for violators.

“The penalties will actually be identified in local ordinances, because it’s an executive order, so a directive for all national and local governments to implement it. Finer guidelines and sanctions will be in local ordinances,” Ubial explained.

Duterte aggressively implemented a city-wide smoke ban when he was Davao City mayor. –


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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.