HealthJustice Philippines, a public health policy think tank and advocacy group with expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, expressed full support for the proposed nationwide smoking ban after President Rodrigo Duterte promised anew that he would implement it.
During the signing of the implementing rules and regulations of the Centenarians Acts of 2016 last Monday, Duterte said of the prohibition to smoke in public places in some municipalities, ”Balang araw buong Pilipinas na ‘to. I will not allow smoking because you pass cancer to the people who do not want it.”
“We appreciate the fact that President Duterte has always been vocal about protecting our people’s right to be free from secondhand smoke. We laud his plan to implement a nationwide smoking ban, and we hope it would take effect at the soonest possible time,” said Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice.
Last May, on the show “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa”, Duterte said that the ban is intended to protect the general welfare of the public. “Para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. It is to protect public health. If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it,” he explained.
The RA 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 explicitly prohibits smoking in public places, which include, among others, centers of youth activity such as schools and public conveyances and public facilities. The US Surgeon General has estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30%.
“Under then Mayor Duterte’s watch, Davao City became a model smoke-free city that cities and municipalities not just in the Philippines but those all over the world endeavoured to replicate. We are positive that he will do the same for the entire Philippines,” Reyes added.
HealthJustice is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control. It is the country partner of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) and of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK).