Health advocates applaud Davao gov’t order to stop selling cigs in 7-11

HealthJustice, a public health policy think tank and recipient of Bloomberg Award for Global Tobacco Control, commends Davao city government and its Anti-Smoking Task Force for strictly implementing their Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, which was passed in 2002 and amended later on in 2012.

The city government of Davao issued an ultimatum to Philippine Seven Corp. (PSC), operator of the 7-11 convenient stores, ordering it to cease selling tobacco products in stores located near schools. Refusal to comply within the month would result in the closing of stores. The local ordinance classifies the 7-11 branches under the “accommodation and entertainment” centres, which it has disallowed from selling tobacco products.

“Tobacco companies are aggressively trying to get the government on their side. We have heard of incidents where representatives of tobacco companies tried to stop local officials from implementing tobacco control laws. Davao City government displayed integrity, efficiency and concern for public welfare when it directed 7-11 stores to quit selling cigarettes,” said Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice.

The said local ordinance complements the national law on tobacco control, RA 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which prohibits the sale of cigarettes in educational institutions and places usually visited by the youth, or places near those. Philippine Seven Corp. Under the law, “the sale or distribution of tobacco products is prohibited within one hundred (100) meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground or other facility frequented particularly by minors.”

A publication entitled “Countering Tobacco Industry at the Local Level” released by HealthJustice last year cites how Davao continues to enforce tobacco regulation best practices despite opposition from tobacco firms.