MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte signed the executive order banning smoking in all public places and prohibiting cigarette consumption by minors, it was learned on Thursday.
Under Executive Order 26, which the president signed on May 16 and made public only Thursday, smoking is already prohibited in “enclosed” public places and public utility vehicles regardless if they are moving or stationary and is allowed only in designated smoking areas.
Individuals who allow or tolerate smoking in these places will be held responsible.
Selling, distribution and purchasing of tobacco products from minors are also prohibited, according to EO 26. Individuals caught selling or distributing cigarettes to minors cannot use not knowing the real age of the minor as a defense, according to the order.
The seller of the cigarette could also not claim that he did not know that the cigarette product was for the consumption of the minor to defend himself, the EO says.
Minors will also be prohibited from smoking, selling and buying cigarettes and other tobacco products, the EO says.
In addition, ordering, instructing or compelling of a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver and promote tobacco products will likewise be prohibited.
The EO says that the selling or distribution of tobacco products in a school, public playground, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places is also not allowed.
Selling cigarettes to minors and selling them near a school have actually been illegal since 2003 under the Tobacco Regulation Act. Smoking indoors is already prohibited by the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.
No tobacco ads near schools
The advertisement of tobacco products within 100 meters from the perimeter of these places is also banned, according to the presidential order.
“Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors, hostel and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by them, or in an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products,” one of the provisions of the order reads.
The placement of any form of tobacco advertisement outside of the premises of the point-of-sale retail establishments is also banned, as well as the placement of any stall, booth and other displays concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale locations or adult-only facilities.
Designated smoking areas
The said order also enumerated the requirements needed for designated smoking areas as well as those that cannot be used as such.
According to the order, the following standards should be followed for DSAs:
DSAs should have no opening that will allow air to escape from the DSA to smoke-free area of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer, provided that, if the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone.
DSAs should not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in from of air intake ducts.
The combined area of the DSA and the buffer zone should not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building or conveyance, provided that in no case shall such area be less than 10 square meters.
No building or conveyance shall have more than one DSA.
The ventilation system for the DSA other than in an open space and for the buffer zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems servicing the rest of the building or conveyance.
Minors shall not be allowed inside the DSA and the buffer zone.
The DSA shall have the following signs which are highly visible and prominently displayed:
Graphic health warning on the effects of tobacco use
Prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old
Other standards and specification to better ensure a smoke-free environment as may be prescribed by the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco under Republic Act 9211 provided that such standards and specifications are consistent with the order and that persons-in-charge are given 60 days to comply.
The EO says that the following places cannot be used as DSAs:
Centers of youth activity such as schools, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors
Elevators and stairwells
Fire-hazard locations such as gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials
Buildings and premises of hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories
Food preparation areas