This report comes at a crossroads for public health in the Philippines.
On 13 July 2021, the Supreme Court affirmed the authority of the Food and Drugs Administration
(FDA) in regulating tobacco products in the case of Department of Health v. Philippine Tobacco
Institute.1 On the other hand, both houses of Congress approved a bill which took away e-cigarettes
and heated tobacco products (HTPs) from the FDA’s jurisdiction.
On 25 July 2022, said bill lapsed into law and became Republic Act (RA) No. 11900 or the Vaporized
Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act (the “Vape Regulation Law”). These two events—polar opposites of each other—mark the state of the implementation of Article 5.3 in the Philippines from 2021 to the early part of 2022 and the constant battle that tobacco control advocates face.
This report also comes at an important period for policy reform and development nationwide. In
May 2022, the country elected a new President who had once been a proponent of the tobacco industry’s legislative interests in the Senate.
A homegrown politician from the “Solid North” and member of the tobacco-growing “Northern Bloc,” President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. sits as the Chief Executive with much uncertainty for tobacco control. However, the lapse of the aforesaid bill into the Vape Regulation Law, despite the series of vetoes that preceded
it for other enrolled bills, sends a signal that tobacco industry interference may grow stronger.
Based on the evidence gathered, this was indeed the case.
Public health in the Philippines suffered a setback with the enactment of the Vape Regulation Law, as
e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.