HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, pointed out that offices, restaurants, malls, and other private businesses are not required by law to establish a Designated Smoking Area (DSA).
“While it is true that in order for private establishments to be able to allow smoking in their respective areas, they are not even required by law to have a Designated Smoking Area. They are free to adopt a 100% smoke-free policy, and there is no provision in EO 26 or the smoke-free EO that prohibits them from disallowing smoking altogether,” said Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza, President of HealthJustice.
Executive Order No. 26 s. 2017, also known as the “smoke-free EO”, prohibits smoking in public places. Smoking may only be done in a DSA, but it is not mandatory for businesses to establish one.
The smoke-free EO defines a DSA as “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.”
The DSA should be isolated by a “non-smoking buffer zone”, which the same order defines as “a ventilated area between the door of a DSA not located in an open space and the smoke-free area, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer.”
The smoke-free EO, signed by President Duterte on May 18, 2017, took effect on July 23, 2017.
Duterte once stated on the show “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” that prohibiting smoking in public is for the protection of public health. “Para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. It is to protect public health. If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it,” Duterte stated.
HealthJustice Philippines is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control. It is a Programme Partner under the NCD Alliance, an international network of organizations, policymakers and advocates working towards reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases.
Download press release here.