Philippines implements nationwide smoking ban in public areas from Sunday

Health groups gather in a news conference on March 3, 2016, urging a stop to smoking. On July 23, 2017, the national smoking ban took effect.
Health groups gather in a news conference on March 3, 2016, urging a stop to smoking. On July 23, 2017, the national smoking ban took effect.PHOTO: THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MANILA (THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The nationwide smoking ban in public areas in the Philippines went into effect on Sunday (July 23).

Smoking is prohibited in public spaces such as schools, recreational facilities, elevators, stairwells, areas with fire hazards, hospitals, clinics and food preparation areas.

"This Executive Order is another milestone where the government gives priority to the right to protect public health," Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press statement.

Executive Order (EO) No. 26, or the nationwide smoking ban in public areas, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 16.

"The implementation of this EO is a realisation of our dream of a tobacco-free future," the spokesman said.

"Together, let us give our full cooperation and support to the smoke-free establishments in public and enclosed places."

Health Secretary Pauline Ubial said, in a statement on July 17, that the local government units would take the lead in enforcing the nationwide smoking ban, and should form their respective smoke-free task force.

Under the new ban, designated smoking areas will be provided, which will be open and separate spaces with proper ventilation.