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Health Highlights: May 19, 2017

Last Updated: May 19, 2017.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Duterte Issues Strict Public Smoking Ban in Philippines

Citizens are being called on to help enforce a strict public ban on smoking in the Philippines introduced by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Many worry that the call for civilians to help local authorities apprehend violators could lead to vigilante violence -- similar to that of an anti-drug campaign that has led to the deaths of thousands of people suspected of being drug users and dealers.

The executive order on smoking was signed this week and bans tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes, in all public places, even sidewalks. It also prohibits anyone younger than 18 from "using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products," The New York Times reported.

Violators could face up to four months in jail and a fine of 5,000 pesos (about $100 U.S.), according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

More than a quarter of Filipinos smoke, including 11 percent of minors, a 2015 World Health Organization paper said, The Times reported.


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