DAVAO CITY, Philippines – After seven years of outlawing cigarette smoking in public places and public utility vehicles here, the city council now wants to amend the ordinance to also ban cigarette vendors from the city’s sidewalks and streets.
Councilor Peter Laviña, trade committee chairman, said the council proposes to expand the ban because of the observation that minors could easily gain access to cigarettes from vendors.
“The proposal is aimed at giving teeth to the existing anti-smoking ordinance and to make it stiffer,” he said.
Laviña said the proposed amendment would restrict the “menudo or tingi-tingi” (retail) system of selling cigarettes in the city’s thoroughfares.
“It will also ban the selling of cigarettes by [individual] sticks. It will be sold, instead, by packs in non-prohibited stores,” he said.
The passage of the amendment, Laviña said, could take place next year, when the discussions shift from the committee level to the main floor.
“We want to make the existing ordinance stiffer because as observed, more people, mostly the young, are learning to smoke,” he said.
The councilor admitted that tobacco manufacturers have reacted sharply to the proposed amendment.
The Tobacco Association of the Philippines, for instance, argued that the ban would have a major impact on the sales of their products.
“They are also afraid that other cities will copy the proposal,” Laviña said.
But Laviña said the ban would not kill the tobacco industry because the sale of cigarettes would still be allowed in designated stores.
As in the case of the smoking ban, the councilor said, public hearings will also be conducted on the proposed amendment.