Philippines president bans smoking in public, with offenders facing jail

Rodrigo Duterte, a former smoker himself, defies country’s powerful tobacco lobby to sign order that also outlaws ‘vaping’

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order banning smoking in public across the second-most populous country in south-east Asia, creating one of the region’s strictest anti-tobacco laws.

The ban, which carries a maximum penalty of four months in jail and a fine of 5,000 pesos ($100), covers both indoor and outdoor smoking, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Thursday.

It also covers existing bans on tobacco advertisements, promotions or sponsorship, which are subject to fines of up to 400,000 pesos and maximum jail terms of three years and possible revocation of business permits.

Duterte was himself a heavy smoker but quit when he was diagnosed as suffering from Buerger’s disease, which can cause blockages in the blood vessels.

The ban replicated an ordinance Duterte created in 2012 in his southern hometown of Davao City, Abella said.

Duterte campaigned for the presidency promising to be tough on criminals, the corrupt, and drug pushers and users and to uproot vices one by one, such as smoking and illegal gambling.

The Philippine Tobacco Institute, which represents tobacco interests, was not immediately available for comment. There are eight firms that make cigarettes in the Philippines.

Designated smoking areas not larger than 10 square metres will be set up for adults only and must be at least 10m from building entrances or exits, according to the order signed on Tuesday. Police-led anti-smoking taskforces will be created in towns and cities.

The smoking ban also covers “vaping” or the use of electronic cigarettes and will apply in casinos, including gaming floors and entertainment rooms, and inside airport buildings, except in designated outdoor smoking areas.

Philippine public health campaigners have long battled the hefty tobacco lobby and welcomed Duterte’s push to end smoking in public.

The country has about 17 million smokers, or nearly a third of the adult population, a 2014 report by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance shows.

Nearly half of all Filipino men and 9% of women smoke and experts say the habit costs the economy nearly $4bn a year in healthcare and productivity losses.

Marlboro owner Philip Morris International, which is estimated to hold more than 70% of the Philippines market through its Fortune Tobacco joint venture, will be among the international producers most affected.

In 2015, the Philippines accounted for almost one in every 13 cigarettes sold by Philip Morris globally, though analysts estimated that was worth about 2% of its profit.

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This entry was posted in Philippines, Y tế and tagged , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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