Executive Order 26, or the Establishment of Smoke-free Environment in Public and Enclosed Places has been in effect since midnight of July 23, 2017. The Philippines is now a No Smoking Country!
Below is a quick summary of the places and conveyances covered by this law and what awaits those that will be caught violating this much-anticipated and badly-needed ordinance:
You can no longer smoke in:
- Schools, Colleges, and Universities (yes, even and especially in State Universities!)
- Restaurants and food preparation areas
- Basketball courts
- Fire hazard risk areas such as gas stations, health centers, clinics, public and private hospitals.
- Jeepneys, taxis, trains, tricycles, buses, and planes.
Adults should no longer send minors to buy cigarettes for them; more importantly, minors should not be made to “light” cigarettes for their elders, sell cigarettes, distribute, or promote tobacco products in any way.
Sari-sari stores and other retail establishments are no longer allowed to showcase tobacco advertisements at points-of-sale.
How will violators be penalized?
Violators will be fined for breaking the law. Penalties range from Php500 to Php10,000 and possible imprisonment. Establishment owners, building managers, and other individuals authorized in managing specific places, offices, and businesses shall be held liable for violations done within their premises. The public is encouraged to report violations to the DOH hotline (02) 711 1002.
Where then can smokers smoke?
Smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas (DSA). These areas should be properly marked and identified in an area or a building. These could be open spaces within an area or a separate room with proper ventilation, with ample visual warnings on the effects of smoking, and has passed the provisions of non-smoking buffer zones.
The Executive Order does not cover vapes and e-cigarettes.