International Women’s Day perfect time to sign smoke-free EO

Bangkok, 8 March 2017: The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) urges Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte to sign a strong Smoke-free Executive Order today in honor of International Women’s Day.

Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke pose a major public health problem in the Philippines. Numbers don’t lie. Nine percent of girls aged 13 to 15 years smoke in the Philippines, while 14 percent of girls start smoking before the age of 10 years.

“Today on International Women’s Day, we hope President Duterte will do something special in honor of women and girls – sign a strong Smoke-free Executive Order,” said Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee, SEATCA Executive Director. “We applaud President Duterte’s commitment to public health, and we are confident that he will do everything to protect everyone’s right to be free from exposure to secondhand smoke especially the vulnerable groups like women and girls,” added Ms. Ritthiphakdee.

The Philippines being a Party to the global treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), is under legal obligation to ensure 100% smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places that are compliant to the FCTC’s Article 8 (Smoke-free) Guidelines.

“Davao City was recognized by SEATCA in 2013 as the 1st Smoke-free Metropolitan City in the ASEAN and serves as a model smoke-free city under the leadership of then Mayor Duterte. The city’s anti-smoking ordinance serves as a best practice for cities and municipalities internationally. We hope President Duterte will apply nationwide his experience in making his hometown smoke-free,” remarked Ritthiphakdee.

The Philippines’ Sin Tax Law and CSC-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2010-01 that provides guidelines for all government employees in dealing with tobacco industry are tobacco control measures that the world looks up to. A Smoke-free Executive Order that truly prioritizes the health of all Filipinos will be another achievement to be proud of.

There are about 17 million smokers in the Philippines and about 90,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases.  Tobacco kills about 500,000 people in the ASEAN region and 6 million people around the world annually.


Wendell C. Balderas, Media and Communications Manager – SEATCA
Email: | Mobile: +63 999 881 2117 ##

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SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance working to promote health and save lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the evidence-based tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control movements in Southeast Asia, the WHO bestowed on SEATCA the World No Tobacco Day Award in 2004 and the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2014.