By Jaimie Rose R. Aberia
An ordinance that bans smoking at all public buildings, facilities, and establishments “owned, used, or controlled or administered by the city government of Manila” was approved unanimously by the city council.
Ordinance No. 7812 or the “Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City Government of Manila,” authored by Councilor Casimiro Sison, is intended “to set an example to the private sector in promoting a smoke-free environment and to safeguard the health of the public using such establishment from the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco consumption.”
“I think this is really to show a good example on the part of the city, that we are really serious about the prohibition (on smoking), strictly, this is a law na para bang talagang inuumpisahan niya ‘yung mga sarili nating building, mga government facilities,” Sison said.
The new anti-smoking law supports the implementation of the old law, Ordinance No. 7748 that has been in effect since 1991, which prohibits smoking in all enclosed spaces and establishments such as bars, restaurants, public theatres, and malls; factories and plants, public utility vehicles, classrooms and school grounds, hospitals and clinics, and markets, among others.
Under the recently passed ordinance, apprehended violators will be fined P2,000 and/or one-day imprisonment or both for the first offense; P3,000 and two-day prison term for the second; and P5,000 and/or three-day imprisonment or both for the third offense — a far cry from the measly P300 fine and a maximum of two-day imprisonment mandated in the 1991 ordinance.
The ordinance also prohibits the mere possession of any tobacco products, including VAPE devices, “whether the smoke is being actively inhaled or exhaled.”
The smoking ban in city government buildings is also not limited inside the buildings but also within the compound, and within 100 meters from such city government properties, according to the new ordinance.
For those who cannot control the unhealthy habit, the ordinance mandates the establishment of smoking areas outside each city government building provided it is not less than 10 meters away from where people pass or congregate and with visible “Smoking Area” and “Minors Not Allowed” signage complete with graphic health warnings.
Approved in an en banc session on March 30, Ordinance No. 7812 will take effect 15 days after its publication in major newspapers.