2 June 2019
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated that “under no circumstances should there be any designated smoking areas (DSA) in public places like schools, hospitals and other recreational facilities catering to the minors in the country’’.
The DILG issued the directive to the local government units (LGU) of 144 cities and 1,490 municipalities to emphasize that these areas should be no-smoking zones at all times.
A DSA is an area of a building or conveyance where smoking may be allowed, which can be an open space or separate area with proper ventilation, subject to specific standards.
The DILG made it clear that local governments must strictly comply with the provisions of Executive Order 26 which states that no DSAs should be established in public places.
EO 26 provides the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.
Under EO 26, there should be no DSAs in centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors.
DSAs should not also be set up in elevators and stairwells, as well as in locations in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials.
The DILG noted that DSAs should not be established within the buildings and premises of public hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories as well as food preparation areas.
Local governments must implement the standards, specifications and putting-up of signages for DSAs for the efficient and effective implementation of EO 26.
Among such standards are the following:
• DSAs shall not have an opening that will allow air or cigarette smoke to escape to the smoke-free area of the building except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer.
• DSAs shall not also be located in or within 10 meters from the entrances, exits or any place where people pass or gather, or in front of air intake ducts.
• DSAs shall have “Smoking Area” signage; graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use; and prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old.
• The ventilation system of DSAs other than in an open area and for the Buffer Zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems servicing the rest of the building.