President Duterte is set to sign a regulation this month banning smoking in public. With his tough anti-vice and anti-drugs record, he pushes to end smoking in all public places both indoor and outdoor by the end of October.
The nationwide ban is set to be among the strictest no-smoking laws in Southeast Asia. The region is home to nearly 10 percent of the world's smokers and while most countries have partial smoking bans in place, enforcement is often lax.The Philippines ban will also cover 'vaping' or the use of electronic cigarettes.
Around 17 million people, or nearly a third of the adult population, smoke in the Philippines, according to a 2014 report by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance. This is the second highest in the region after Indonesia. Nearly half of all Filipino men and 9 percent of women smoke and experts say the habit costs the economy nearly $4 billion in healthcare and productivity losses every year.
Marlboro owner Philip Morris International, estimated to hold more than 70 percent of the Philippines market through its joint venture with Fortune Tobacco, will be among the international producers most affected by the proposed ban.
The proposed smoking ban replicates on a national level an existing law in Davao City, where Duterte ruled as mayor for 22 years until his rise to the presidency earlier this year. Penalties for breaking the anti-smoking law in Davao can include a 5,000 Philippine peso fine or four months in prison.