MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Executive Order No. 26 (EO 26) on Smoking Ban is set to be implemented on July 23, 2017. Here is my humble attempt to dissect the provisions of EO 26 for easy understanding and ready reference.
Q1: What does EO 26 provide?
A1: EO 26 provides for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.
Q2: Who are covered by EO 26?
A2: The EO applies to all persons, whether resident or not, and in all places, found within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Q3: Enumerate the prohibited acts under EO 26.
A3: The following acts are declared prohibited and unlawful:
- Smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances whether stationary or in motion;
- For persons-in-charge to allow, abet or tolerate smoking in designated smoking areas (DSAs) which do not comply with the requirements of the EO.
- For any person to sell, distribute or purchase tobacco products to and from minors. It shall not be a defense for the person selling or distributing that he/she did not know or was not aware of the real age of the minor. Neither shall it be a defense that he/she did not know nor had any reason to believe that the cigarette or any other tobacco product was for the consumption of the minor to whom it was sold;
- For a minor to smoke, sell or buy cigarettes or any other tobacco products;
- Ordering, instructing, or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco products;
- Selling or distributing tobacco products in a school, public playground, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by minors, or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these facilities;
- Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures, and other materials within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors, hostel and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by them, or in an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products;
- Placing any form of tobacco advertisement outside of the premises of point-of-sale retail establishments; and
- Placing any stall, booth, and other display concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale locations or adult-only facilities.
Q4: Is smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, prohibited?
A4: As a general rule, smoking is prohibited within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion.
Q5: Is there an exemption to the general rule?
A5: Yes. Smoking is allowed in Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) fully compliant with the requirements set forth in the EO.
Q6: Define “Designated Smoking Area” (DSA).
A6: DSA refers to an area of a building or conveyance where smoking may be allowed, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation subject to the specific standards provided in the EO.
Q7: What are the standards for DSAs?
A7: All DSAs are required to comply with the following standards:
- There shall be opening that will allow the air to escape from the DSA to the smoke-free area of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer; provided that, if the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone;
- The DSA shall not be located in or within ten (10) meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in front of air intake ducts;
- The combined area of the DSA and the buffer zone shall not be larger than 20% of the total floor area of the building or conveyance, provided that in no case shall such area be less than ten (10) square meters.
- No building or conveyance shall have more than one DSA;
- The ventilation system for the DSA other than in an open space and for the buffer zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems servicing the rest of the building or conveyance;
- Minors shall not be allowed inside the DSA and the buffer zone
- The DSA shall have the following signages highly visible and prominently displayed:
- “Smoking Area” signage
- Graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use; and
- Prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old.
- Other standards and specifications to better ensure a smoke-free environment as may be prescribed by the Inter-Agency Council-Tobacco under RA No. 9211, provided that such standards and specifications are consistent with EO 26 and that the person-in-charge are given 60 days to comply.
Q8: Enumerate the public places where smoking is absolutely prohibited and DSAs are not allowed.
A8: There shall be no DSAs in the following public places:
- Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high school, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors;
- Elevators and stairwells;
- Locations in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquid, gas, explosives or combustible materials;
- Within the building and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; and
- Food preparation areas.
Q9: Does the EO prevent the person-in-charge from instituting more stringent measures in their buildings and establishments to better ensure a smoke-free environment in their premises?
A9: No. The EO does not prevent the person-in-charge from instituting more stringent measures in their buildings and establishments to better ensure a smoke-free environment in their premises.
Q10: The EO provides that if the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone. Define “Non-Smoking Buffer Zone”.
A10: “Non-Smoking Buffer Zone” is ventilated area between the door of the DSA not located in an open space and the smoke-free area. There shall be no opening that will allow air to escape from such Non-Smoking Buffer Zone to the smoke-free area, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer. Such door is distinct from the door of the DSA, which shall at least two (2) meters away from the other.
Q11: Who are tasked to implement the provisions of EO 26?
A11: The persons-in-charge are tasked to implement the provisions of EO 26.
Q12: Who are considered as persons-in-charge?
Q12: Persons-in-charge refer to the president/manager in case of a company, corporation, partnership or association, the owner/proprietor/operator in case of a single proprietorship, or the administrator in case of government or private property, facility, office or building, and the city/ municipal schools superintendent, school president, dean or principal in case of school.
Q13: Enumerate the duties and obligations of persons-in-charge.
A13: The following are the duties and obligations of persons-in-charge:
- Prominently post and display the “No Smoking” signage in locations most visible in public areas where smoking is prohibited;
- Prominently post and display the “No Smoking” signage in the most conspicuous location within the public conveyance;
- Remove from the places where smoking is prohibited all ashtrays and other receptacles for disposing of cigarette refuse
- For persons-in-charge of schools, public playgrounds, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors, post the following statement in a clear and conspicuous manner:
SELLING, ADVERTISING AND PROMOTING CIGARETTES OR OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS NOT ALLOWED WITHIN 100 METERS FROM ANY POINT IN THE PERIMETER OF (name of SCHOOL/PLAYGROUND/FACILITY FOR MINORS/ETC.)
- For persons-in-charge of schools, public playgrounds, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors , including those frequented by minors, to report to the nearest Smoke-Free Task Force of the concerned city or municipality any tobacco product selling, advertising, and/or promotion located within 100 meters from its perimeter.
- For persons-in-charge of point-of-sale establishment, post the following notice together with a graphic/picture-based health warning on the health consequences of the tobacco use, as prescribed by the Department of Health, in a clear and conspicuous manner:
SALE/DISTRIBUTION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO MINORS IS UNLAWFUL
- Establish internal procedure and measures through which EO 26 shall be implemented and enforced within the area of which he or she is in charge.
- Ensure that all the employees in the establishment are aware of EO26 and the procedure and measures for implementing and enforcing it; and
- For all signage required to be posted, provide for versions of them in local dialect or in English.
Q14: Who are the persons liable in case the provisions of EO 26 are not duly complied with?
A14: The following persons are liable and be punished in accordance with the governing provision of RA 9211 and other applicable laws:
- Any person or entity who commits any of the prohibited acts as stated above;
- Person-in-charge who knowingly allow, abet, authorize or tolerate the prohibited acts enumerated above, or who otherwise fail to fulfill his duties and obligations.
Q15. Does EO 26 enjoin Local Government Units (LGUs) to develop, promote and implement Local Smoking Cessation Programs?
Q15.Yes. EO 26 enjoins LGUs, in coordination with DOH, to develop, promote and implement their respective Local Smoking Cessation Programs. LGUs are also enjoined to form a local Smoke-Free Task Force.
Q16: Who are directed to carry out the provisions of EO 26?
A16: Members of the PNP and Smoke-Free Task Forces are directed to carry out the provisions of EO, including the apprehension of violators and the institution of criminal proceedings for violations of the EO, in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations, and strictly observing due process.