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BAT okay with Duterte’s planned no-smoking EO

A tobacco company on Monday supported the smoking ban in all public places, which is being planned to be implemented throughout the country by President Duterte before the end of the month.

British American Tobacco (BAT) Philippines CEO James Michael Lafferty said BAT, which has brands like Lucky Strike and Pall Mall, would have no issue with the imposition of the ban on smoking in public places.

“Such bans are already being implemented throughout the country at varying degrees of enforcement, as already enshrined in RA [Republic Act] 9211, or the Tobacco Regulations Act of
2003. We don’t see any issue with the new administration pushing for a more uniform enforcement across all local government units [LGUs],” Lafferty said in a statement.

RA 9211 already prohibits smoking in the following public places: schools and centers of youth activity; elevators and stairwells; locations in which fire hazards are present; within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, health centers and similar institutions; public conveyances and public facilities, including airport and ship terminals, and train and bus stations, restaurants and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and food-preparation areas. For all other areas where nonsmokers may be exposed to tobacco smoke, smoking and nonsmoking areas should be established.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rusell Ubial said Mr. Duterte is set to sign an executive order banning smoking in all public places nationwide. Ubial said the smoking ban in all public places will be patterned after the smoking ban being enforced in Davao City.

Lafferty said BAT had consistently supported sensible regulations imposed by the government, particularly those aimed at addressing health issues.

“BAT has consistently demonstrated in the Philippines that we will be a responsible tobacco company that supports sensible regulations advocated by the government. Of the two major tobacco industry laws passed under the Aquino administration, we were the only tobacco company to have supported the ‘sin’  tax law, and had posed no objections when Congress enacted the graphic health warning aw,” Lafferty noted.

“We may be in a controversial industry but we can still take responsible and honorable positions,” he added.

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