Health group lauds Duterte’s plan to implement nationwide smoking ban

Health Justice

Public health policy think tank and Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control HealthJustice Philippines welcomes presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he will implement a “no smoking” policy nationwide, including in enclosed public spaces such as bars and restaurants.

“We are excited about his plan to make Philippines practically smoke-free. For the longest time, Filipinos have been suffering from the effects of inhaling secondhand smoke everywhere. There is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to it. 240 Filipinos die each day from smoking-related diseases,” said Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice Philippines.

“Smoke-Free” pertains to an environment in which people are protected from the health risks posed by secondhand smoke. According to the US Surgeon General, exposure to secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer by 20-30%. The RA 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 explicitly prohibits smoking in public places, which include, among others, “centers of youth activity such as schools” and “public conveyances and public facilities.”

When asked on the show “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” why he intends to do it, Duterte replied, “Para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. It is to protect public health. If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it.”

“No one should be forced to inhale secondhand smoke. Likewise, no one should be allowed to irresponsibly put another person’s life in peril. We are looking forward to having an ally in President-elect Duterte in this fight for every Filipino’s right to a safe and healthy environment,” Atty. Reyes added.