CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Aug. 11 – The proposed ordinance providing Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order No. 26, providing for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places and the creation of smoke free task force was thoroughly scrutinized by the City Council committee on health and sanitation and health insurance.
The committee, chaired by Councilor Maria Lourdes Gaane, noted that the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (RA 9211) prohibits smoking in certain public places whether enclosed or outdoors in certain places, prohibits the purchase and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to and by minors and in certain places frequented by minors, imposes bans and restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities of tobacco companies and local government units to implement these provisions.
During the meeting, one of the provisions discussed was the acts that are declared unlawful and prohibited by the ordinance, specifically the selling, distribution, smoking or vaping, or allowing or tolerating the sale of any tobacco products in places such as, among others, centers of young activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for persons under 18 years old.
Councilor Reuben R. Daba, chair of the committee on social services and vice-chair of the committee, proposed that the specific age provision of 18 years old be removed, as it can cause confusion to the constituents. Others will smoke in the specified areas since they are beyond 18 years old, he cited.
For his part, a representative of the Office of Building Official (OBO) said the office will regulate these areas prior to the application of building permit and will conduct inspection to ensure its compliance.
Councilor Gaane proposed the total ban of smoking in the said areas regardless of age.
The committee endorsed the proposed ordinance to the City Legal Office for review and for its legal opinion.
Councilor Gaane said the committee would continue to discuss the matter for final resolution. (JBD/SP)