CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The Davao City-based Parents Against Vape (PAV) and other groups appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto a bill that allowed the sale of vape products to young people.
The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 2239 or the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, was approved on third and final reading by the Senate last December.
The bill proposes to restrict access to vaporized nicotine products or vapes to 18 year-olds and above.
But groups such as PAV worry that the bill will lead to easier access to heated tobacco products (HTPs) or e-cigarette products.
PAV is an alliance of parents, teachers, public health experts, and community groups based in Davao and Samal Island.
It said more than 5,000 people has signed the petition appealing Duterte to veto the vape bill.
“As parents, we are alarmed at the provisions of the bill. The Vape Bill 2022 lowers age of access, allows flavors that entice children and youth, makes them available online, allows the use of cigarettes in public places, and transfers its regulation to the Food and Drug Administration,” said the group in their letter signed by Imelda Gocotano, PAV convener.
She said many parents don’t realize the adverse effects of vape on their children.
“Parents are not aware vapes are harmful to their kids, that’s why they allow them,” Gocotano said during the online press briefing Tuesday, March 8.
She added that once parents were informed on the harmful effects of vape, they began to support PAV.
Gocotano said they have appealed to Duterte to back the strict regulation of vape products.
“We have enough laws and policies that strictly regulate these harmful products which you issued. Thus, we humbly ask you, Mr. President to protect your legacy, maintain these laws and policies, and allow their full implementation. Mr. President, please veto the vape bill 2022 for the full protection of our children and the youth,” PAV said in a statement.
Lawyer Benedict Nisperos of HealthJustice Philippines added that the Vape Bill is a profit-oriented and industry-sponsored bill masquerading as a public health policy.
“We already have a comprehensive and strict regulatory regime for vape regulation as embodied in Republic Act Nos. 11346 and 11467 and Executive Order No. 106 signed by [Duterte]. The Vape Bill 2022 reverses the policy of the Duterte administration against these addictive and toxic products,” Nisperos said.
He stressed that the Vape Bill “reverses” the key policies that will ensure that kids are protected from these harmful and toxic products.
Nisperos cited that the age of access restriction is reduced from 21 years old to 18 years old when the higher age restriction is the global best practice.
“The regulatory power is taken away from the Food and Drug Administration and exclusive jurisdiction is given to the Department of Trade and Industry, when these toxic products should be under FDA’s jurisdiction. While FDA has jurisdiction on vape products with health claims, the vape industry can easily market their products as consumer products not as health products. No one will have to undergo FDA regulation. All products escape FDA scrutiny. In short, FDA was creatively sidelined by this industry-favoring bill,” he said.
“The Vape Bill 2022 allows public vaping as a default while EO106 prohibits it as a default. The enumeration where these products can be used in public is more comprehensive in EO 106 than this new bill,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edgardo Ulysses Dorotheo, executive director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, belied the claim of vaping supporters that heated tobacco products or electronic nicotine delivery devices are “switching products,” claiming to help smokers quit.
“The reality is that there are many smokers who – when they try to quit smoking and use e-cigarettes – become dual users,” Dorotheo said.
In a separate statement released earlier, lawyer Sophia San Luis, executive director of ImagineLaw, said, “The Vape Bill is a betrayal of public health and directly contradicts the President’s strong stance against vaping, e-cigarette use, and addictive substances.” S
The law group recalled that Duterte issued Executive Order No. 26 which established smoke-free environments in 2017 and declared that “public health takes precedence over any commercial and business interest.”
She said they expect Duterte to maintain his strong stance against vapes and e-cigarettes and veto the legislation.
The president implemented a no-smoking ordinance in Davao City during his term as city mayor for the past two decades.
“If President Duterte signs the Vape Bill into law, it will undo his years of work in protecting the youth and the public from the harms of smoking, vapes, e-cigarettes, and addiction,” San Luis said. (davaotoday.com)