It has to be the ultimate incentive to quit smoking: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says anyone caught lighting up a cigarette in a public place in his country will be jailed for up to four months.
Duterte has signed an executive order for an ‘absolute ban’ on smoking in schools, gas stations, hospitals, ‘food preparation areas’ and stairwells.
Anyone in breach of the rule will face the equivalent of a $100 fine or incarceration.
The move follows Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, in which thousands of suspected narcotics users and dealers have been killed by vigilantes and the police during the last 12 months.
As part of his vow to “clean up” Filipino society, adult websites have also been censored. Despite this, the age of consent in the Philippines is just 12.
A third of the population – roughly 17 million people – smoke cigarettes in the Philippines, meaning the new law could prove difficult to enforce.
The executive order was delayed from last year because of corporate resistance. Shares in LT Group Inc, the Philippines’ leading cigarette maker, at one point fell by 4.4 percent following the news.
The law takes effect 60 days after its publication in a newspaper.
‘This is a victory for us,’ said Maricar Limpin, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health Philippines. ‘This (order) highlights the need to protect the people from the harsh exposure to second hand smoke.’