BANGUED ABRA – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan here recently approved an ordinance passed by Bangued town councilors prescribing a Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance in the town and penalizing violators in order the achieve a smoke-free municipality.
Ordinance 45 series of 2014 was recently approved by the Abra SP to be implemented in the province’s capital to safeguard the health of the public and contribute in changing the lifestyle of smokers to abandon smoking as part of their way of life.
Committee on Health Chair Councilor Jinnie Joel Bolante said the ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to smoke of any tobacco product or us electronic device such as e-cigarettes and shisha in all forms of public conveyances, government owned vehicles, accommodations and entertainment establishments, workplaces, enclosed or partially enclosed public spaces and public buildings except in duly designated smoking areas.
Designated smoking areas according to the town councilor should only be one per building and properly identified with appropriate signage to guide the public on the existence of a smoking area in a structure.
It should also be located in an open space but should not be located 10 meters away from building entrances or exits and should not have an area larger than five meters.
The local ordinance also created an Anti-Smoking Task Force to be headed by the town mayor in order to monitor the compliance of building owners to the provisions of the local legislative measure.
The ordinance also mandated establishment owners to place “This is a non-Smoking Establishment“signs in all entrances to their establishments.
Penalties for establishments violating the ordinance include fines of P 1,000 to P 2,000 for the first to third offenses. Fourth and subsequent offenses of the establishment will merit P2, 500 penalty and the cancellation of the business permit.
Individual violators of the ordinance may face penalties of P50 to P200 for first to third offense and a fine of P400 or imprisonment upon discretion of the court for the fourth and subsequent offenses.
A P 1 million funding was also set aside for the Anti-Smoking Task Force and for other needs of in implementing the ordinance, particularly in the information dissemination to appropriately inform the people prior to the implementation of the ordinance.
By Dexter A. See