Smokers, take note of this.
Two days before President Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address, the nationwide ban on smoking in public places including conveyances will get implemented on July 22nd.
Duterte previously signed an executive order (EO 26) on May 16 this year that will enforce the establishment of smoke-free areas in public and enclosed places. Apparently, the order can only take effect 60 days after its official publication in national papers.
The presidential order invokes the Clean Air Act of 1999 and the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 to effectively pursue the nationwide ban on smoking in all public places of the country.
To be more specific and clear, the prohibition covers government buildings, schools, colleges and universities, offices and other workplaces, restaurants (and other food and drink establishments), hotels and other accommodation facilities, hospitals, health centers, clinics and nursing homes.
The same order also covers transportation terminals, churches, shopping centers, retail stores and other merchandise establishments, entertainment establishments, sports venues, other establishments that provide professional services.
Also included are public conveyances like buses and jeepneys, taxicabs, tricycles and other public utility vehicles, rail transit, airplanes and ships.
The order also prohibits smoking in all outdoor spaces where people gather such as parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, waiting areas, open-air markets and resorts.
It calls on establishments to provide designated smoking areas if they choose to allow smoking within their premises. Smoking areas will bar entry to non-smokers and minors.
Since the order restricts and penalizes smoking tobacco products in enclosed public places and public conveyances, weither stationary or in motion.
But wait, where do smokers go now? Designated smoking areas will be located in public buildings or places that are accessible or open to the public regardless of ownership (of the facility or location).
And the right to access must be smoke-free inside and within 10 meters from entrances and exits or where people pass or congregate, and from air intake ducts.
The order also covers existing bans on the sale, distribution and purchase of tobacco products to and from minors, or persons below 18 years old. Also enforced will be restrictions on cigarette advertisements and promotions under the Tobacco Regulation Act.
The order instructs all local government units in the formation of a smoke free task force (SFTF) that will help enforce its provisions.
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