Manila, Philippines – The House of Representatives has concluded the consolidation ofthe bills aiming for the strict regulation of Dr. Riza Gonzales, Philippine Pediatric Society lead expert on electronic cigarettes hailed the move as timely as electronic cigarettes have already infiltrated the market and is becoming popular among the youth.
“E-cigarettes especially puts our children at risk to a new form of dangerous addiction. Their developing brain i.e. the prefrontal cortex which is the seat of execution functionand is the one responsible for mood, impulse and behavior control matures by mid20’s.
Early nicotine and repeated exposure makes their synapses highly vulnerable to addiction.” Gonzales said.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its 2014 report to the Conference of Parties for Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, stated that “evidence is sufficient to caution children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age
about ENDS (electronic nicotine device system) use because of the potential for fetal and adolescent nicotine exposure to have long-term consequences for brain development.”
Marjon Fenis, a member of MillenialsPH, felt anxious upon learning the harms of
“I have a lot of friends my age, who are into e-cigs or vapes. They are definitely not aware of the diseases that they might get from it, especially since vapes are designed to appeal to the ‘techie’ crowd, with some looking like USBs.” Fenis said.
He also added that “e-juices in the market like butterscotch, chocolate, bubble gum and other candy flavors are specifically appealing to the youth.”
Vape is the more popular term for an e-cigarette. E-juice refers to the mixture used for the e-cigarette which contains nicotine, among others.
According to the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey, more than 500,000 Filipinos are using electronic-cigarettes.
Fenis said that “most of his friends are into e-cigarettes because some vape shops are near schools and in malls where the youth like me can easily purchase.”
New tobacco products lumped into e-cig category alarming
Most alarming to health advocates is the recent development that tobacco manufacturers are now lumping heated tobacco products (HTPs) with e-cigarettes.
Legislators who authored the consolidated bills on the regulation of e-cigs are still debating on whether to consider (HTPs) under the same category. IQOS of Philip Morris International is currently the most popular heated tobacco product available in
The World Health Organization has explicitly stated that HTPs are not e-cigarettes. HTPs heat tobacco to generate nicotine. I contrast, e-cigarettes heat an e-liquid, which may or may not contain nicotine and do not contain tobacco.” According to Rep. Ruffy Biazon, one of the authors of the Tobacco Regulations Act of 2003 (RA9211), heated tobacco products, being tobacco products are already covered by Republic Act 9211 and should not be covered by e-cig bill.”
Atty. Jacky T. Sarita of HealthJustice Philippines agrees with Rep. Biazon. “If you look at IQOS, the product is composed of an electronic device which heats a roll of tobacco. This perfectly fits the description of cigarettes under RA 9211, which define it as pertaining to any roll or tubular construction, which contains tobacco or its derivatives and is intended to be burned or heated under ordinary conditions of use.”
Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said that “tobacco companies are trying to deceive the public by claiming that Heated Tobacco Products are less harmful than regular cigarettes; however, these claims have been rejected by health authorities in countries such as the US and the UK. For sure, HTPs are much more harmful than e-cigarettes.”
The consolidated bills on e-cigarette regulations will be forwarded by the technicalworking group of the HOR to the Joint Committees of Trade and Health. HOR sessions will be suspended by February 9.
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