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Philippines bans smoking in public places, Twitter reacts with joy

19 May 2017, 08:53 | Todd Saunders

Philippines' Duterte bans smoking in public

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President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order banning smoking in all public places nationwide, a Palace official announced on Thursday.

Duterte, a firebrand leader most famous for waging a war on drugs in which thousands of people have died, had promised immediately after becoming president past year to introduce the smoking ban as part of a range of measures to impose more order on society.

The Executive Order on banning smoking nationwide will be implemented 60 days after publication in newspapers nationwide.

Duterte also directed the budget department to provide funding for the operations of the task force.

However as around 17 million people in the country smoke, or a third of the adult population, including half of all men, it may be hard to enforce. The EO is titled "Providing for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places".

Philippine public health campaigners have been battling for a long time against the hefty tobacco lobby.

However, DSAs are not allowed in places frequented by minors; elevators and stairwells; locations where fire hazards are present like gas stations; medical establishments including public and private hospitals, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries, and laboratories; and food preparation areas.

Individuals who allow or tolerate smoking in these places will be held responsible.

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It also bans any person from selling, distributing or purchasing tobacco products to and from minors.

It disallows minors to smoke, sell, or buy cigarettes or any other tobacco products.

Ubial said Duterte signed the executive order on Tuesday, which sets strict guidelines on designated areas where smoking is prohibited or may be allowed, with breaches attracting a maximum penalty of four months in jail and a fine up to 5,000 pesos (100 USA dollars).

"The key to stopping young people from smoking is by reducing their accessibility to tobacco aside from increasing the prices", Arandia disclosed.

According to these studies, 8.9 percent of students aged 11 to 15 years are smoking cigarettes and 7.3 percent use some forms of tobacco.

Children who are exposed to smoking, Arandia said, are at higher risk of acquiring respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer.

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.

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