Smoking Ban 101: Everything You Need To Know
Tread this confusing time with some real information
On Sunday, a nationwide smoking ban was put in practice, which affects millions of smokers in the country. But while the general premise of the executive order are understood, the specifics and actual implementation is still a little on the gray area.
The absolutely not’s
Smoking is now prohibited in public areas. These include
- Schools/universities of all levels
- Recreational facilities (basketball courts, gyms, swimming pools, etc.)
- Elevators and stairwells
- Anywhere where fire hazards are posted
- Private and public hospitals (including medical, dental and optical clinics)
- Food preparation areas
- Private cars within public spaces
- Public cars (jeeps, busses, trains); ships are exempted if allowed by the sea captain
The safe areas
The safest place to smoke at this point is an establishment with a designated smoking area (DSA). Every building is entitled to one, as long as it’s an open space or is a separated indoor area with proper ventilation. The problem with the latter option is that the establishment also needs to have a buffer area that separates the DSA from the rest of the building.
But how do you know if it’s an establishment has a DSA or if the area is safe to smoke in? All DSAs must display a visible “Smoking Area” sign, as well as graphic health warnings and signage that prohibits individuals younger than 18 years. So if you don’t see these things, keep on walking.
The dreaded apprehensions
Individuals caught violating the ban will face fines ranging from P500 to P10,000, depending on the number of offenses already recorded. Meanwhile, establishments risk facing fines of at least P5,000, as well as jail time not exceeding 30 days.
The end goal
Health is the main concern being addressed by the smoking ban. Theoretically, the executive order will be good not just for smokers themselves, but for second-hand smokers as well. In the end, the hope is that the number of people who smoke will decrease on its own. That is, after all, what happened in Davao.