The Department of Health (DoH) on Thursday said the nationwide smoking ban will take effect on July 15, when its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) will be released to supplement the provisions of Executive Order (EO) 26.
EO 26, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 16, imposes a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places in the Philippines.
Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said the smoking ban will be imposed on July 15.
“Starting Saturday, according to the Executive Order, the smoking ban should be implemented,” Tayag said.
“The Department of Health, from our latest dialogue with other agencies, we know the IRR is not needed, but since it is announced by our secretary that there was feedback where many did not understand the provisions of the executive order, having an IRR will clarify it,” he said.
“What happened was, there is no overall IRR. The Department of Health has its own IRR, other agencies have their own version of IRR. We hope to release one as soon as possible,” he added.
The official reminded establishments to put up warning signs so as not to be penalized by authorities.
“It’s much better if you put up ‘No Smoking allowed in this area’ so that you will not be given penalties or you might become an example for authorities or for those who monitor the implementation [of the executive order],” he said.
He said designated smoking rooms should have an area for cigarette smoke to be dispersed.
“Remember there are safety features of it where it is not allowed to not just have a room for smoking but it should also have a buffer zone,” he said.
“Excluding the smoking area in which smoking is allowed, there should also be a space or room where smoke could exit. If you can’t (provide), don’t put up smoking areas since that is a violation of the executive order,” he added.
Under EO 26, smoking in public places and public conveyances such as schools, workplaces, sidewalks and public vehicles are prohibited. The sale of tobacco to minors is also banned.