Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order that will impose a wide-ranging ban on smoking in public, reinforcing some of the toughest anti-tobacco measures in Asia.
Smoking will be banned in many public places, while selling tobacco within 100m of schools and other areas where children gather could attract jail terms, according to the order published late on Thursday.
Duterte, a firebrand leader most famous for waging a war on drugs in which thousands of people have died, had promised immediately after becoming president last year to introduce the smoking ban as part of a range of measures to impose more order on society.
Other measures included a ban on singing karaoke at night and a 2am curfew on drinking alcohol in public, although these have yet to be implemented.
The order had been reported in some media as a blanket ban on smoking in public places.
However the order did not make that clear and health department spokesman Eric Tayag said the exact areas to be banned would be announced later, with the order set to become law in 60 days.
Nevertheless, the order did state that smoking would be banned in all “enclosed” public places, which are defined as having a roof and at least one wall.
This means it will cover all public buildings, such as workplaces and malls.
However there will be designated smoking areas allowed inside these buildings.
Smoking will also be banned on all forms of public transport.
People who smoke in banned areas will face a fine of 500 pesos (RM43) for a first offence, rising to a maximum of 10,000 pesos (RM869) for a third strike, according to the order.
People who sell tobacco products in banned places could be jailed for up to three years, the order said.
The Philippines already has a ban on tobacco advertising, as well as a law that requires graphic images of smoking health hazards to be printed on cigarette packaging.
Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, also introduced hefty taxes on smoking. — AFP