Smoking ban EO implementation starts July 22

Pia Ranada
Smoking ban EO implementation starts July 22
Individuals and establishments caught violating President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order will face fines or imprisonment

MANILA, Philippines – Public establishments and vehicles should be ready to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 26 setting a smoking ban by Saturday, July 22, the day of its effectivity.

EO 26 sets strict guidelines on designated smoking areas (DSAs) and bans them altogether in schools and recreational facilities for minors.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said there will be “no grace period” for establishment and vehicle owners to adjust to the EO’s requirements.

“We’ll just have to see how the establishments will comply because if they don’t comply, then there will be sanctions,” she said on Monday, July 17, during a Palace news briefing.

Local government units (LGUs) will take the lead in monitoring compliance with the EO. Ubial said they are required to form task forces that will check if public establishments and public vehicles all have DSAs. (READ: E-cigarettes not covered by smoking ban EO)

Those who observe violations of the EO should report to LGUs who have jurisdiction over the establishment involved.

Individual violators will be fined P500 to P10,000, depending on their number of offenses.

Owners of establishments caught violating the EO will face a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days.

Ubial suggested that establishments just put up DSAs outdoors since indoor ones, with their many requirements, are much harder to put up.

“We’re advising establishments to actually, hopefully, just establish outdoor designated smoking areas because it’s easier to comply with that,” she said.

Indoor DSAs require a non-smoking buffer zone with automatic door closer between the DSA and the rest of the building or vehicle. It should also not be within 10 meters of doors, areas where people congregate, or air intake ducts.

All DSAs, whether indoor or outdoor, must have visible “Smoking Area” signs, graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use, and signs prohibiting the entry of persons 18 years old or below.

While the EO does not need implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for it to become effective, Ubial said the department is already crafting one.

“[The] IRR is now being crafted. Unfortunately there is a lot of vetting that has to be done with all the key stakeholders so it’s taking quite some time to issue the IRR,” she said.

Duterte’s EO on smoking is one of two EOs reflecting ordinances he championed when he was Davao City mayor. The second such EO bans private citizens from staging fireworks displays in their homes. – Rappler.com 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.