In line with the celebration of World No Tobacco Day last May 31, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recently urged government agencies anew to observe the smoking prohibition in government premises.
CSC Chair Francisco T. Duque III stressed the importance of setting smoking guidelines in government buildings and grounds. “Part of the CSC’s mandate is to ensure that state workers are always in good shape so that they can deliver the highest quality of services to the public. We also want our civil servants to be role models of healthy living for the rest of the public,” he said.
The international theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day celebration, “The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)”, aims to highlight the importance of the FCTC, an international public health treaty against the tobacco epidemic, and to call on State Parties to fully implement their obligations under the treaty. The Philippines is a State Party to the FCTC.
Through CSC Memorandum Circular No. 17 issued in May 2009, the CSC has ordered an “absolute smoking ban” in all premises of government agencies that provide health, education, and social welfare and development services such as hospitals, health centers, schools and universities. Thus, smoking areas are not allowed to be designated in such places.
For government premises not considered as such, smoking is also prohibited except in open spaces designated as ‘smoking areas’.
A “smoking area” is defined as an outdoor space with the following criteria: it should be located in an open space with no permanent or temporary roof or walls; it should not be located within 10 meters of entrances, exits or any place where people pass and congregate; and it should not have an area larger than 10 square meters. There should only be one designated smoking area per government building, and food and drinks should not be served therein.
Also included in the CSC policy are the removal of ashtrays and other receptacles for dispensing cigarette refuse in non-smoking areas, and the prohibition of smoking in government vehicles.
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and Department of Health, tobacco smoke kills more than 87,000 Filipinos every year.