Davao City becomes model of antismoking drive

Subscribe Now May 30, 2013 at 07:50am

Antismoking advocates from nine Asian countries will meet here with their Filipino counterparts in July to observe the enforcement of the city’s tough ordinance against smoking and the highly-regulated sale of tobacco products.

Dr. Domilyn Villarriez, deputy chair of the city’s Anti-Smoking Task Force, said antismoking advocates from Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, will spend a whole day to visit smoke-free places here and discuss ways of enforcing similar laws in their home countries.

Dubbed the Smoke-Free Workshop On Enforcement, Villarriez said the three-day event was initiated by the South East Asia Tobacco Alliance and sponsored by Malaysia’s Health Promotion Board.

She said Davao City’s being a hall of fame award recipient for its tough antismoking policy is the main reason it was chosen as venue for the event.

Smoking in public areas and the sale of cigarettes to minors have been banned in the city since 2001, but last year, the Sangguniang Panlungsod decided to tighten the antismoking ordinance by including places previously identified as smoking areas as no smoking areas.

Even devices designed to help smokers quit have been banned in public places and areas identified as no smoking zones.

Vilarreiz said the tougher ordinance is the first in the Philippines.

The revised ordinance, which will take effect on May 31, bans smoking even in open areas where people gather, including sidewalks.

Violators will be fined P500 and required to undergo counseling on how to stop smoking.

The new rules also bans businesses from designating closed areas as smoking areas. Only areas 10 meters from entrances, exits or any place where people gather are to be designated as smoking areas.

Villarreiz said under the new ordinance companies manufacturing T-shirts or anything advertising tobacco products,

“real or imagined,” will be fined P100,000 to P400,000.

Senior Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, city police chief, said police have been very active in enforcing the antismoking ordinance. He said in 2012 alone, at least 2,356 violators have been arrested and charged.

Source: inquirer.net

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