Executive Order 26 strengthens tobacco-regulating laws that already exist.
Among the list of new rules and laws implemented under the Duterte administration is Philippine Executive Order (EO) No. 26 entitled “Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-Free Environments in Public and Enclosed Places,” which is better known as the Nationwide Smoking Ban. It has been officially in effect since July 22 and its main objective is to prohibit cigarette smokers from using and smoking tobacco products in public spaces.
Under this law, smoking in public and private vehicles, food establishments, streets, walkways, and waiting sheds is punishable with a fine ranging from PhP500 to PhP10,000 depending on the number of offenses. As of the moment, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are not included in the ordinance.
Establishments were also asked to create Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) outdoors for the sake of other customers. Among establishments that should comply are hotels, churches, restaurants, shopping centers, retail stores, offices, government buildings, sports venues, and entertainment establishments. Terminals for public conveyances like jeepneys, tricycles, taxicabs, airplanes, ships, airplanes, and buses are also required to put DSAs at least 10 meters away. Meanwhile, places such as learning institutions, elevators and stairwells, gas stations, food preparation areas, and health care facilities are not permitted to have smoking areas.
A fine of PhP5,000 and a 30-day maximum imprisonment will be imposed on any establishment owner who will violate the law.
Besides smoking in public spaces, the law also bans any company, person, or institution from distributing and advertising tobacco products to minors. Advertising tobacco products in domestic TVs, radios, newspapers, magazines, posters, billboards, pamphlets, leaflets is illegal, and so is paid placement of tobacco in TV, film, or other media.
Local government units were also ordered to form a “Smoke-Free Task Force” that will help in regulating the ban in their communities.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued the executive order in an ambition to replicate the success of Davao City’s “smoke-free” status —one of the first in the Western Pacific Region and in the ASEAN region.