Duterte bans public smoking in Philippines, asks citizens to help

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte poses for a group photo on May 15 during the Belt and Road Forum north of Beijing. Photo by Damir Sagolj/EPAPool

May 19 (UPI) — Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, whose anti-drug crackdown has incited the deaths of more than 7,000 people in the past year, has banned smoking in public.

The executive order, signed Tuesday and announced Thursday, prohibits the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes in public spaces, indoor or outdoor.

As with his bloody extrajudicial drug war, Duterte called on citizens to help local authorities apprehend smokers.

Violators face a maximum penalty of four months in prison and a fine of $100.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the ban covers playgrounds, sporting areas, sidewalks, schools, workplaces, government offices, restaurants and other businesses.

It also forbids anyone under 18 from using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products and imposes tight restrictions on designated smoking areas.

“There shall be no opening that will allow air to escape from the designated smoking areas to the smoke-free area of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer,” the order said.

Duterte, a former smoker who quit after developing health problems, implemented a similar ban in Davao City in 2002, when he was the city’s mayor.

More than a quarter of Filipinos smoke, according to a 2015 World Health Organization report, including 11 percent of minors.


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