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Duterte postpones planned ban on public smoking

Philippine president seeking the opinion of doctors before signing executive order

Gulf News

Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte postponed the signing of a controversial executive order that will impose a nationwide ban on public smoking.

More reactions from doctors are needed to prove the importance of the executive order, Duterte said, adding, “I need the pronouncements of our medical sector.”

“They should be on the forefront of this because they know the benefits of totally banning smoking inside [buildings and other closed settings],” the Philippine president said, adding he does not want uninformed opinions on the issue.

However, one political analyst, Prospero de Vera, said Duterte was “looking for allies from experts.”

Duterte’s proposed executive order seeks the strict implementation of a smoking ban in public places — both indoor and outdoor.

Duterte succeeded in implementing a smoking ban in public places during the 22 years he served as mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines.

A former smoker, Duteret once admitted, “What I have is Buerger’s disease. It’s an acquired thing, from smoking because of nicotine. Nicotine constricts the vessels.”

The disease is symptomatic among heavy cigarette and tobacco smokers, doctors say. Apart from constricted blood vessels, Buerger’s diseases causes arteries and veins to swell, resulting in blood clots that prevent blood from flowing to one’s extremities. It could lead to a darkened skin, infection and gangrene, doctors add.

The tobacco industry has not yet publicly responded to Duterte’s plan. An aide said Duterte was supposed to sign the executive order this week.

Earlier, before the May 2016 polls, Duterte also promised to limit liquor intake among Filipinos.