The Sangguniang Panlalawigan recently passed a provincial ordinance that seeks to regulate smoking in public places, including public conveyances; and the advertisement, promotions and sponsorships of tobacco products in the province. The ordinance also provides penalties in accordance with the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and its implementing rules.
Vice Governor Leonides N. Fausto, sponsored the ordinance. He said that the Tobacco Regulation Act recognizes the need for a balanced policy in the regulation and use of tobacco products. “This ordinance takes into account the need for a healthy environment and the protection of citizens from the hazards of tobacco smoke; at the same time to ensure that the interests of tobacco farmers, growers, workers and other stakeholders are not adversely compromised,” Vice Gov Fausto said.
The ordinance prohibits smoking within Cagayan including places like playschools, preparatory schools, elementary & high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and other youth recreational facilities.
The ordinance also prohibits smoking in playgrounds, elevators and stairwells and other locations in which fire hazards are present like gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas explosives or combustible materials; within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; public conveyances and facilities including airport and ship terminals, train and bus stations; restaurants and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and food preparation areas where food or beverage is actually being manufactured or prepared.
Meanwhile, the owners, and operators, of establishments not included in the smoking ban in public places must determine the size and specifications of the smoking or non-smoking area with the standards set by the ordinance. These include that the designated smoking area other than in an open space shall be completely enclosed or physically separated from the rest of the premises and equipped with adequate ventilation.
The ordinance also requires the putting up of signages for designated smoking and non-smoking areas. A legible and visible sign posted saying “Smoking Area,” “No smoking” and “Non-Smoking Area” in English or Filipino must be readily seen by the public and must be placed conspicuously at the entrance to the designated smoking and non-smoking areas.
For violation on smoking in designated public places where smoking is prohibited; non-compliance to establish smoking and non-smoking areas; sale of tobacco products to minors and within one hundred (100) meters from any point of the perimeter of a school; non-compliance with the required signage; non-compliance with restriction on tobacco advertisement, promotions and sponsorships; and distribution of samples of tobacco products to minors, the ordinance clearly stated the corresponding penalties where on the first offense, a fine of not less than Five Hundred Pesos (P500) but not more than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000); second offense, a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000) but not more than Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P2,500); third offense a fine of not less than Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P2,500) but not more than Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000), all imposed by the discretion of the court and the business permit and licenses to operate may be cancelled or revoked.