Filipinos Celebrate President Duterte’s Ban on Smoking in All Public Areas

Filipino netizens are now singing praises for a recently passed executive order that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed earlier this week.

The president, who has gained international media attention over his unorthodox and deadly crackdown on drugs, has officially ordered a ban on smoking in public areas nationwide. The ban, which is now one of Southeast Asia’s strictest existing anti-tobacco laws, currently does not include vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes, reports Rappler.

Despite a huge number of Filipinos being active smokers, accounting for almost a third of the adult population (17 million) according to Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, the order has generally been received positively by the general population. Some smokers are even saying that they are now ready to kick the habit.

According to Yahoo News, even the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) lobby group, which represents tobacco companies such as Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc, Fortune Tobacco Corp, British American Tobacco, JT International (Philippines) Inc and others, have expressed their agreement with the new rules.

“We have always supported regulation of public smoking as provided for under the national law including the designation of areas where smoking is allowed,” PTI said.

Duterte has long admitted that he was himself a heavy smoker but was forced to quit after he was diagnosed as suffering from Buerger’s disease, a condition that may lead to blockages in the blood vessels.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella stated on Thursday that the new order, which covers both indoor and outdoor smoking, carries a maximum penalty of four months imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 pesos ($100).

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