Anti-smoking ordinance in Tagbilaran approved

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Anti-smoking ordinance in Tagbilaran approved

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The Sangguniang Panlungsod approved on Wednesday, the “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City Government of Tagbilaran” with minor revisions of its original version as submitted by City Councilor Eliezer Borja, the chair of the Committee on Health, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection.

The new ordinance imposes stiff penalty on individuals who would smoke or vape in public places and establishments who would openly promote tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

Smoking and vaping are only allowed in designated areas.

Section 4 (k) of the ordinance defines public places as those all places, fixed or mobile, that are accessible or open to the public or places for collective use, regardless of ownership or right to access, including but not limited to, schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishments that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment or other services.

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“It also includes outdoor spaces where facilities are available for the public or where a crowd of people would gather, such as, but not limited to, playgrounds, sports grounds or centers, church ground, health/hospital compounds, transportation terminals, markets, parks, resorts, walkways or sidewalks, entrance ways, waiting areas, and the like.”

Under Section 4 (c), a designated smoking area “refers to an indoor and outdoor space, duly approved by the City Health Officer, where smoking and vaping that meets the requirements set by the ordinance.

 It is required that a designated smoking area is located in an open-space outside the building with no permanent or temporary roof or walls in an outdoor area and within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate; has an area larger than 10 square meters.

It is also required that food or drinks are not served in the designated smoking area; that no building shall have more than one designated smoking area; minors or persons below the age of 18 shall not be allowed inside.

There must also be the signage with the text, “Smoking Area” and the signage with message showing “Minors not allowed within these premises”, as well as the graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use that are highly visible and prominently displayed.

The designated area “shall not be located in places where absolute smoking bans are in effect, such as, but not limited to: centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for  persons under eighteen (18) years old; elevators and stairwells; locations in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustibles materials; within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; food preparation areas; public conveyances and in enclosed, partially enclosed and outdoor areas of transport terminals that are near entrances and exits or where people congregate; within the buildings of all government facilities and premises of all offices of the Department of Health, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Civil Service Commission, and shall likewise include parks, plazas, playgrounds, sports and recreational activities, and other facilities where an absolute smoking ban is imposed under special laws, administrative and executive orders, memorandum circulars and related policies”.

“Indoor Designated Smoking Area must be with proper ventilating equipment and conformed to the design approved by DOH and the City Office of Building Official and other requirements.

PUNISHABLE ACTS

Section 5 of the ordinance enumerated 18 prohibited acts.

These include smoking or vaping in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, workplaces, public conveyances (whether mobile or stationary), or other public places, except in designated smoking areas duly approved and fully compliant with the requirements set in the ordinance.

 Other prohibited acts are, for persons-in-charge, to allow, abet or tolerate smoking or vaping in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of approved Designated Smoking Area; selling or distributing tobacco products and/or ENDS to minors; purchasing tobacco products and or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) to minors; ordering, instructing or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco products and/or ENDS;

The ordinance also prohibits selling or distributing tobacco products and/or ENDS in a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, offices of the Department of Health (DOH) and attached agencies, hospitals and health facilities, or within 100 meters from any point in the perimeter of these places; within premises of a government facility; without a municipal permit to sell tobacco products or ENDS; as individual pieces or per stick, or in tobacco product packs containing less than 20 sticks/pieces.

It is also prohibited to sell or distributed tobacco products and/or ENDS removed from its original product packaging or without the proper government-regulated and approved health warning; and by ambulant or street vendors, including other mobile or temporary stalls, kiosks, stations or units;

Selling or distributing of sweets, snacks, toys or any other objects in the form of tobacco products which may appeal to minors is also prohibited.

Other prohibited acts are placing cinema or outdoor advertisements of tobacco products and/or ENDS; placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products and/or ENDS; placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials that show a tobacco/ENDS brand’s name (including company name), logo or indicia, such as in  a point- of- sale establishment, where minors are allowed entry.

It is also prohibited to conduct promotional activities, campaigns, events, product sampling, and the like, where the establishments or its location is prohibited from selling or unauthorized to sell tobacco products and/ or ENDS, and/ or where minors are allowed entry; openly display and place tobacco products and/ or ENDS in open store shelves/racks, except in enclosed, opaque and single-coloured storages/containments.

  The ordinance also prohibits facilitation, participation or partnership engaged by any government official or personnel, regardless of employment status (permanent, casual, contractual, job order, consultant or special appointment) in any form of contribution, sponsorship or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity, event, program or project by a tobacco company, tobacco industry front groups, or any representation working to protect tobacco industry interests, executed for or within the territorial jurisdiction of the City Government of Tagbilaran, with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco products and/ or ENDS, its use either directly or indirectly.

BASIS

The ordinance cited the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular 17 issued in 2009 that “prohibits smoking in premises, buildings and grounds of government agencies providing health, education or social welfare and development services such as hospitals, health centers, schools and universities and colleges; provides for specific requirements for designated smoking areas”.

 Also, CSC-Department of Health Joint Memorandum Circular 2010-01 “prohibits government officials and personnel from interacting with the tobacco industry and those representing their interests unless strictly necessary to effectively regulate, control, or supervise them, and its guidelines shall be adhere to strictly..

 Also cited is a number of basis for passing the Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance such as the 1987 Constitution where it is declared a policy that the “State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them”.

At least three special laws are also cited such as Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 which he said “accords every local government unit, the power and authority to promote the general welfare within its territorial jurisdiction, including the promotion of health and safety of its constituents; RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 which “declares the right of every citizen to breathe clean air,4 prohibits smoking inside enclosed public places including public vehicles and other means of transport, and directs LGUs to implement this provision”; and RA 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which “prohibits smoking in certain public places6  whether enclosed or outdoors in certain places, the purchase and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to and by minors and in certain places frequented by minors, imposes bans and restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities of tobacco companies, and also directs LGUs to implement these provisions”.

Also cited is the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which Philippines, as a party to the convention, “determined to give priority to the right to protect public health and to promote measures of tobacco control based on current and relevant scientific, technical and economic considerations, and agreed to implement the measures provided in the treaty”.

Another basis is the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Memorandum Circular 2009-036 which “provides that drivers and operators of public utility vehicles are responsible for preventing smoking in public conveyances and posting specified ‘No Smoking’ signs in their vehicles”.

The anti-smoking ordinance is intended to “demoralize the culture of smoking and tobacco consumption through comprehensive and proven effective tobacco control measures; and recognize “the fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy”.

It is emphasized in the ordinance that “scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke cause death, disease and disability; lead to devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences; and places burdens on families, on the poor, and on national and local health systems”.

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