Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his harsh stance against drugs, is seeking to ban smoking in public areas.
The country’s health minister, Paulyn Ubial, told reporters that the draft executive order is awaiting Duterte's signature. Ubial’s department was asked to push for the ban prior to a law passing that would allow graphic images and tobacco health warnings printed on tobacco products to pass Nov. 4. E-cigarettes would also be banned because the products still produce smoke.
“I don’t see any reason why they will oppose that,” Ubial told the Associated Press in regards to potential push-back from tobacco companies and smokers alike. “We’re not stopping them from smoking, we are just telling them not to smoke around non-smokers.”
Areas designated for smoking outdoors, away from public places, will be enforced.
Davao, a southern city in the Philippines where Duterte was the former mayor, also carried out a ban on public smoking.
Despite Duterte’s severe crackdown on illegal drugs in the country, his call for a ban on public smoking is not unusual. Other countries around the world have carried out smoking bans in recent years.
Smoking in the U.S. is enforced by local government rather than the state. California and New York are among the states where public smoking is strictly monitored, whereas states like Mississippi and Georgia allow smoking in some bars or restaurants.
In 2004, Ireland became the first country to implement a total ban on smoking, with violators receiving a fine of 3,000 euros ($3,300).
Australia has some of the strictest smoking laws, and bans extend to restaurants, enclosed public places and smoking in vehicles with children. Spain also carries out a total smoking ban and one cannot smoke in China’s capital city of Beijing. According to the European Commission, more than 15 countries in the EU have smoke-free laws in place.