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LGUs to ensure no smoking areas in schools

CEBU, Philippines - Local government units (LGUs) must ensure that there are no designated smoking areas (DSAs) in public places such as schools and hospitals as well as in other recreational facilities for minors.

In its newly-issued directive, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that LGUs must strictly observe and comply with the provisions of Executive Order 26, which categorically states that no DSAs should be established in public places.

A DSA refers to an area of a building or conveyance where smoking may be allowed, which can be an open space or a separate area with proper ventilation, subject to specific standards.

EO 26, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May this year and took effect last month, provides the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.

EO 26 states that there should be no DSAs in centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors.

DSAs should not also be seen in elevators and stairwells, as well as in locations in which fire hazards are present including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials.

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Moreover, DSAs should not be established within the buildings and premises of public hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories as well as food preparation areas.

The DILG in a statement said that LGUs are expected to implement the standards, specifications and putting-up of signages for DSAs for the efficient and effective implementation of EO 26.

Among such standards includes that DSAs should be marked with a "Smoking Area" signage, with posted graphic health warnings on the effects of tobacco use and prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old. (FREEMAN)


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