The Philippines has taken the bold and vital step in becoming entirely smoke-free. Their President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an Executive Order (EO) that bans across the whole nation, smoking in any public place, whether it be indoors or outside.
The EO was signed on 16th May 2017. The EO states: “Public places means all places, fixed or mobile, that are accessible or open to the public or places for collective use, regardless of ownership or right to access, including but not limited to schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishments that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment or other services. It also includes outdoor spaces where facilities are available for public or where a crowd of people would gather, such as, but not limited to, playgrounds, sports grounds or centers, church grounds, health/hospital compounds, transportation terminals, markets, resorts, walkways/sidewalks, entrance ways, waiting areas and the like.” The Executive Order becomes law 60 days after it was signed.
President Duterte, a former smoker, uses an oxygen machine at night because of the harm caused him by smoking. The Philippines already has a blanket ban on tobacco advertising and has taxed tobacco heavily. This has seen a drop from 28 to 23% of the adult population smoking. The new measure specifically aims to protect children around schools by introducing a no-tobacco sales exclusion zone of 100 meters around schools. Traditionally tobacco companies have deliberately targeted stores next to schools to sell cigarettes and offer incentives to children to take up smoking.
Other nations have also proposed complete smoking bans: New Zealand, who are working to reducing the smoking population to around 5% by 2025, and Finland who are introducing measures for an outright ban on smoking and to make Finland 100% tobacco free by 2040.
The World Foundation for Natural Science has long advocated a ban on all forms of smoking and strongly supports these measures. For far too long have the tobacco companies been permitted to sell a product that is designed to addict the user and consequently to make him or her sick. Smoking causes so much misery to those who smoke and their families that it is long overdue that it be banned globally.
- Executive Order can be read in the following article:
- On smoking in the Philippines and details of the ban:
- Tobacco companies selling to children near schools:
Philip Hilts (1996), Smokescreen: The Truth Behind the Tobacco Industry Cover-Up, Addison-Wesley.
- New Zealand’s goal of end smoking by 2025:
- Finland banning all smoking by 2040: