Changes to city’s anti-smoking ordinance proposed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance repealing Sections 5k and 5m of Ordinance No. 34 series of 2017 and requiring all persons or establishments selling tobacco products, either by pack or by the stick, as well as electronic nicotine delivery systems, to put graphic health warning posters or images containing the many health harms caused by tobacco use in all points of sale.

The amendatory ordinance authored by Vice mayor Edison R. Bilog and Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated all persons or establishments selling these products are required to put graphic health warning posters or images containing the many health harms caused by tobacco use in all points of sale in the different parts of the city.

The ordinance added the City Health Services Office shall ensure the implementation of the local legislative measure and likewise provide the necessary graphic health warning posters or images as required by law.

Under the proposed ordinance, violators of the ordinance shall be fined P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 and imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offenses.

Further, suspension or revocation of business permit or special permit in case of a business entity or establishment found violating the provisions of the ordinance will be imposed.

Section 5k of Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 entitled “Prohibiting the Use, Sale, Distribution and Advertisement of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products in Certain Places, Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof and Providing Funds thereof and for Other Purposes Amending Ordinance No. 08, series of 2008 or the City’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance” provides that the selling of tobacco products or electronic nicotine delivery system as individual pieces or per stick or piece shall be prohibited.

Further, Section 5m of the same ordinance prohibits ambulant or street vendors, including other mobile or temporary stalls, kiosks, stations or units from selling tobacco products or electronic nicotine delivery system.

While the purpose of the ordinance clearly states that public health takes precedence over any commercial or business interests, the ordinance claimed it has been the sentiment of a few residents that sell tobacco products that the two provisions have greatly affected their source of livelihood more so that most consumers prefer to buy cigarettes per piece or stick from stores or street vendors.

According to the proposal, further providing that the selling of cigarettes should only be done by pack does not directly prohibit consumers from purchasing the same instead it would even result to having consumers consume more cigarettes rather than just a single or a number of sticks of the tobacco products.

By Dexter A. See

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