Smoking ban in PHL also covers foreigners

DAGUPAN CITY –The smoking ban as provided for in an executive order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte covers not only Filipinos but also foreigners staying in the country.

Francisco de Vera Jr., a nurse of the Department of Health (DOH) regional office, said foreigners could also be arrested if they smoke anywhere else except in designated smoking areas (DSA) as provided for in Executive Order No. 26.p>He said hotels where the foreign tourists might be staying were required to put up respective Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) where everybody could light up without being arrested.

But the DSAs must be 10 meters away from the doorways and exits of every hotel.

Foreigners can not just smoke in their hotel rooms because if found smoking, the tourists and the hotel owners are both liable for violation of Executive Order No. 26.

Penalties for violators include no less than PHP500 nor more than PHP1,000 for the first offense; not less than PHP2,000 but not more than PHP5,000 for the second offense; and not less than PHP5,000 but not more than PHP10,000 for the third offense.

He said higher penalties were imposed to stores or establishments selling cigarettes to minors from 13 top 17 years old.

Violators will be meted fine of PHP100,000 and imprisonment for one year for the first offense and PHP200,000 fine and two years imprisonment for the second offense.

De Vera, in charge of the information drive on Executive Order No. 26, told newsmen it was better not to smoke than be arrested for violation of the Anti-Smoking Law.

He said if a person is not smoking, he may prolong his life beyond the usual 70-year life span of the Filipinos. lvmicua/