Next step on smoking ban: IRR from DOH


Next step on smoking ban: IRR from DOH

A man blows cigarette smoke at Ortigas-Edsa underpass Quezon City as President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order implementing a nationwide smoking ban. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

The Department of Health will soon issue the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order 26 tightening the ban on smoking in enclosed public places and transportation.

“The DOH will lead in developing the implementing rules and regulations to guide the local government units in the implementation of this landmark order,” said Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, welcoming the issuance of the order which has the force of law.

“Individual local government units will have the mandate to institute more stringent measures and impose penalties on violators to protect their constituents’ health,” Ubial said.

DOH spokesperson Enrique Tayag said a group will be formed to thresh out the details of the IRR.

“The implementing rules and regulations will include designated smoking areas,” he said, but health facilities, stairwells, escalators, elevators, gas stations and other potential fire hazards, schools and kitchens cannot be used as smoking areas.

Davao model

While EO26 did not specify penalties, it adapts those specified in Republic Act 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

The executive order, which was patterned after an ordinance of Davao City, was signed last May 16 but was only released Thursday.

Ubial said the executive order “reinforces the firm and unwavering commitment of the President to the health and welfare of all Filipinos.”

“If properly implemented, this will contribute to reducing the number of deaths from tobacco use which is presently at 87,000 deaths each year,” she said on Friday.

The DOH promised help health workers provide smoking cessation services in anticipation of more smokers wanting to kick the habit.

Other health advocates also welcomed the signing of the executive order.

The Health Justice Philippines expressed hope that the said order will discourage more Filipinos to quit smoking.

“If all the local government units will impose the executive order, we will soon breathe clean air in the Philippines,” said the group’s president, Mary Ann Mendoza.

The antismoking group New Vois Association of the Philippines lauded the President for “finally achieving one of his first commitments” after winning the 2016 presidential elections.

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