Officials react to nationwide smoking ban

ALTHOUGH he supports the banning of smoking in public places, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said President Rodrigo Duterte’s new executive order (EO) may affect the country’s economy.

The mayor believes the National Government should consider the smokers, whom he called “an economic force.”

“You have to consider that we are not alone in this world. It will affect the economy. It has affected tourism in Davao City because you can’t smoke anywhere,” he said.

Since the President announced his plan to ban public smoking in the country, Osmeña said, a hotel in Cebu lost 30 percent of its revenue.

Osmeña said the offices involved in the implementation of the EO should consider how to effectively enforce it since smoking is a “difficult vice to stop.”

“That’s the truth of the matter. The management should take into consideration its enforceability. If you’re a smoker and you’re banned from smoking, you’d be under extreme stress,” he said.

Duterte signed last May 16 EO 26, which sets strict guidelines on designated smoking areas and prohibits smoking in public places such as schools, hospitals and recreational facilities for minors, among others.

The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is studying how they can implement the President’s order.

City Director Joel Doria said they are waiting for directives on how they can catch possible violators.

Doria said they will be on the lookout for sari-sari stores who will let minors or children buy cigarettes.

In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said he used to smoke and that the years of nicotine intake was one of the factors that caused him to be diagnosed with cancer.

Although cigarette is considered contraband, Osmeña wants the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 7 to provide the Cebu City Jail inmates with a smoking area.

“I’m in favor of allowing smoking in the jail. You’re already in jail and can’t smoke, that’s double the stress,” he said.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, in a separate interview, supports Duterte’s EO even though he is a smoker himself.

Although he has not stopped smoking, he said he knows his limitations.