DOH to lead crafting of rules on smoking ban
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) will lead the formulation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for President Duterte’s Executive Order 26 banning smoking in public places nationwide.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the IRR would guide local government units in the implementation of the order.
“The executive order suggests the minimum standards to be followed. By virtue of the local government code, individual local government units have the mandate to institute more stringent measures and impose penalties on violators, aimed at optimum protection of the health of their constituents, in compliance with the obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),” Ubial said.
“We will also continue to build capacity of health workers on smoking cessation services as we expect more smokers to want to quit due to the social environment conducive to quitting that this order will create,” she added.
Initiated by the World Health Organization, the FCTC is the world’s first public health treaty to reduce tobacco consumption. It was signed and ratified by the Philippine government.
The DOH has projected that EO 26, if properly implemented, will help reduce the number of deaths from tobacco use, which is now pegged at 87,000 per year.
Under EO 26, smoking in public places shall be prohibited. Designated smoking areas shall also have strict implementation requirements for establishing indoor and outdoor smoking areas in which an open space or separate area is allowed.
The EO also bans smoking in schools, hostels, recreational facilities for minors, elevators and stairwells, locations in which fire hazards are present, within public and private hospitals, clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dental clinics and laboratories. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Paulo Romero