Baguio City approves amended anti-smoking law

4 May 2017:

THE Baguio City Council approved last week the amended Anti-Smoking Ordinance dubbed the “Smoke Free Baguio.”

The ordinance prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places and imposing penalties for violations.

The new ordinance amended Ordinance No. 8 of 2008, and takes effect 15 days after publication or posting in conspicuous place and anchored on the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; Local Government Code of 1991; the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999; Civil Service Commission Memorandum circular (MC) 17, 2009; Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board MC 2009-036; and the Civil Service Commission-Department of Health joint MC 2010-01.

Under the amended ordinance, priority and right is given for the protection of public health, safety, and promotion of tobacco control, in public places, public conveyances; but considers the provision of smoking areas, with details on posting of proper signages.

Scientific evidence proves tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability, and lead to devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences, places burdens on families, on the poor and on national and local health systems.

Data also provides that a number of Filipinos die of tobacco-related diseases like stroke, heart disease, emphysema, nicotine addiction, and cancers related to smoking.

Evidence show there is no safe level of tobacco smoke ingested, and advertising and the like increase tobacco use, as with bans on tobacco promotion and sponsorship decrease same.

Minors exposed to promotion are likely to use and initiate tobacco use. A ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship is then recommended to lessen its ill effects, it was known.

There should be no smoking; allowing, abetting or tolerating smoking, inside a public utility vehicle; and in all public places; selling, distributing, purchasing tobacco products from or through a minor.

Selling or distributing tobacco products or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (Ends), posting, displaying through posters, leaflets in point-of-sale establishments where prohibited, or where minors frequent, are not allowed.

Vaping or ENDS is included in the ordinance, where devices whether or not used to deliver nicotine through vaping, or resembles the act or outward appearance of smoking.

Displaying and promoting tobacco or Ends, except in enclosed, opaque and single-colored storages is not allowed, as stated in the amended ordinance.

Further, smoking areas need to be approved by the City Health Services Office.

Persons-in-charge of areas and premises intending to put up a designated smoking areas (DSA) need to secure a certification or permit from the duly authorized officer; or the Civil Service Commission, or from the City Buildings Official and City health Services Officer.

A smoke-free task force is also designated for the purpose; chaired by the mayor with members from the City Health Services Office, Health Education and Promotion Office, City Building Office, City Legal Office, Public Information Office, Permits and Licensing, Civil Society Organization, Philippine National Police, City Treasurer, City Environment and Parks Management Office, Department of Education/Commission on Higher education, Parents and Teachers Association, and President of the Liga ng Mga Barangay.

Other members may be included as identified by the chair.

Violators of the ordinance as to smoking or vaping would have P1,000; P2,000 and P3,000 penalties, or imprisonment, or suspension or revocation of business license, if applicable; and violation of the ban for advertising and promotion would be meted P2,000; P3,000 and P5,000 penalties.

Imprisonment, suspension or revocation of business license or permit could be done in such cases.

Proceeds from the payment of penalties will be used for printing of information, education and communication materials, meetings, inspection and enforcement, incentives for private citizens who report violations, and the apprehending officer. (PR)