By Chito Chavez
An anti-smoking advocate is asking the country’s local government units (LGUs) to come up with their respective ordinances for the full enforcement of Executive Order No. 26 which calls for a nationwide smoking ban in public places.
Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) , said it is imperative for LGUs to promulgate their ordinances now that EO 26 took effect last Saturday.
“President Duterte has done his part. It is now the responsibility of local government officials to carry the ball by ensuring a smoke-free environment in their respective jurisdictions,” said Rojas.
“The local ordinances will be critical in making sure that the smoke-free initiatives shall be effectively sustained from the national to the local level,” he added.
In addition, Rojas said local officials who are more interested in keeping their constituents safe from smoking-related illnesses may opt to even go beyond the EO 26.
“Using the EO 26 as the baseline, local officials who are keen on tobacco control policies may even impose stricter policies by using the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) as basis,” said the anti-smoking advocate.
Last Saturday, EO 26 took effect nationwide with total prohibition against smoking in all enclosed public places and public conveyances, except in designated smoking areas.
The Department of Health (DOH) is still drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Executive Order, although it is not a requirement for the EO’s full implementation.
The NVAP, meanwhile, called on the general public to help in the effective implementation of the smoking ban.
Rojas said they are pinning their hopes on all Filipinos, especially the non-smokers, to be at the forefront of the efforts to keep the country smoke-free.
“If you are in the presence of smokers in prohibited areas, you can choose to report them to authorities and hold them accountable for their actions,” he said.
“By doing so, you can protect yourself and fellow non-smokers from the threat of the equally-deadly second-hand smoke (SHS),” added Rojas.
Based on the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) – Philippines, SHS exposure is highly prevalent in public places, particularly in bars and nightclubs at 86 percent.
Second hand smoke exposure was also found to be prevalent in public transportation at 38 percent; followed by restaurants at 22 percent.
Other public places attended by second hand smoke are in government buildings at 13 percent; schools at 11 percent; and healthcare facilities at 4 percent.
Tags: anti-smoking, Department of Health (DOH), implementing rules and regulations, LGUs, LGUs asked to lead in anti-smoking ban, Manila Bulletin, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), Smoking Ban