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First vape user fined in city after gov’t starts crackdown

Since the start of the operation last week, a vape smoker was caught by the Talomo police at Times Beach in Ecoland on Nov. 21.

Maj. Jason Baria, Davao Police Regional Office 11 spokesperson, identified the man only as alias Kelly, a resident of Cateel, Davao Oriental. He was caught smoking e-cigarettes at 11:30 p.m. in the area.

He said Talomo police then issued a citation ticket on him and recorded the incident in the police blotter.

The item was also confiscated.

“Even if he was inside or outside the Times Beach, once the area of apprehension is considered public place, then he will be subject for ticket issuance, “he added.

In a text message, PRO XI regional director Brig Gen. Filmore Escobal, said alias Kelly was the first person to be fined in the more than 200 operations conducted by the Davao City Police Office and the regional police stations.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a verbal ban on the sale and public use of vape and e-cigarette. He invoked the right of the government to protect the public from any health-related risks. However, the President did not issue an executive order, and instead left the enforcement to the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Later President Duterte said he does not need to issue an executive order, citing that there is already a ban on nicotine and smoking in public. The Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 bans smoking in public places.

However, Davao City Council passed in 2012 Ordinance No. 0367-12, which amended the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance. The amended law included e-cigarettes in its scope.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are also seeking to raise the fines for violators.

For the first offense, they want to raise the fines to P2,000; P3,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 for the third and succeeding offenses. For non-contest incidents, the fine is increased to P1,000 from P500.

The ordinance prohibits smoking of any tobacco product including e-cigarettes, shishas and the like, in all accommodation and entertainment establishments, workplaces, enclosed public places, partially enclosed public places, public buildings, public outdoor spaces and all public conveyances, government-owned vehicles and other means of public transport within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.

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