DAVAO CITY -- The city council has approved a proposal that regulates use of electronic cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products, further strengthening its anti-smoking policy.

The measure, which has yet to be signed by Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio to become an ordinance, is an expanded version of the 2002 anti-smoking law.

Authored by Councilor Tomas J. Monteverde IV, the proposed ordinance also imposes new requirements on the setting up of designated smoking areas in business establishments.

It seeks to require business operators to secure permits for smoking areas from the local government’s anti-smoking task force.

Such areas must be without walls and roofs and must be 10 meters away from the main establishment. The designated areas must have the sign "Smoking Area" and display graphic representations of the ill-effects of the vice.

Under the current ordinance, businesses are only required to secure the approval of the City Engineers Office in the construction of smoking areas as part of the building plan.

The anti-smoking ordinance carries a penalty of ₱1,000, or a month in jail, or both for the first offense; ₱2,500 and two months in jail for the second offense; and ₱3,000 with four months in jail for the third offense.

The anti-smoking task force, headed by Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, is mandated to oversee the ordinance’s implementation.

In an earlier interview, Ms. Villareiz said her group was pushing for the ban on electronic cigarettes in public places, but groups selling the item have opposed the proposal.

Jasper Huang, a distributor of electronic cigarettes, the products supposed harmful effects have not been established.

The city councilors, however, believe it is better to regulate the use of such products as non-smokers are annoyed at the smoke emission.

In strengthening the campaign against smoking, Ms. Villareiz said it is important for "young people not to see their old folks smoking" even if it is only an electronic device.

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