Nationwide smoking ban to be implemented on July 23

The implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 26, which bans smoking in public places, has been moved to July 23, a week later than its original target date.

The EO, which was signed last May 16 by President Rodrigo Duterte, was stated to be implemented on July 15, 60 days after its publication in newspapers of nationwide circulation.

However, according to Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Enrique Tayag, the EO was not published in newspapers until a week later.

“Nagkamali kami kasi kahapon na Sabado. Nung chineck namin, May 24 pa na-publish, so isang linggo pa po,” he said.

[We were wrong about last Saturday’s announcement. When we checked, the advisories were published on May 24. So, one more week.]

Moreover, the DOH will also release implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to settle universal policies. The IRR will serve as a guideline for local government units (LGU) in creating their own.

IRRs were not intended by the DOH during its discussion, and LGUs were encouraged to use the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as a basis for their ordinances. However, gray areas and confusion prompted the department to make one.

“Ang nangyari po, walang pangkalahatang IRR. Ang (DOH) ay may sariling version ng IRR, and ibang ahensya, meron ding sariling version ng IRR.” Tayag

[There is no centralized IRR. The DOH and other agencies have their own

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said LGUs can opt not to wait for the IRR to impose their own regulations.

The implementing rules and regulations will include designated smoking areas. Potential fire hazards such as health facilities, stairwells, escalators, elevators, gas stations, schools, and kitchens cannot be used as smoking areas.