WHO eyes Davao as anti-smoking model city in Asia ? official

The city council approved the Comprehensive Anti Smoking Ordinance No. 0423 in November 2002.

About a year later, the city government enforced the city ordinance with the Anti-Smoking Task Force, making it the only city in the country strictly implementing the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 or Republic Act 9211, said Dr. Domilyn Villareiz, who heads the task force.

Villareiz told reporters about the WHO update at the I-Speak press conference Thursday and added there is no let up on the implementation of the law.

Among the rules in the ordinance orders a ban on smoking in public places and allowing it only in specified separate smoking areas.

Villareiz said they were able to successfully implement the ordinance with violators arrested both in the city's urban and rural centers.

Earlier, Villareiz said the cut on the number of smoking-related ailments listed in the city's hospitals showed the success of the anti-smoking campaign.

She said the arrest of violators also showed the city is keen on implementing the law.

Based on earlier reports, the Davao City Police Office has arrested 5,265 violators from the start of implementation up to 2006.

She cited that most violators were caught in public transportation vehicles and during night time.

Villareiz announced that starting July 1, the Task Force will remove all billboards and cinema ads bearing advertisements promoting cigarettes and smoking. She said they will also no longer allow promotional materials in printed ads in newspapers and magazines in 2008.

Last year, the Task Force announced the ban on all television and radio networks to air cigarette advertisement effective Jan. 1, 2007 to back Republic Act 9211.

She said the law prohibits selling of cigarettes as well as any kind of advertisements within 100 meters of schools and recreational establishments.

Offenders will be penalized with P100,000 fines on first offense and a maximum of one year imprisonment. On the second offense, violators will be meted P200,000 penalty and a maximum of two years imprisonment, while the third offense will have a P300,000 penalty and prison term of not more than three years.

She said managers or heads of establishments that violate the law will also be liable.