Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez II recently said that the Duterte administration is considering a total ban on electronic cigarettes in the country amid the proliferation of the unregulated battery-operated devices. Secretary Dominguez said the ban on the use and sale will include all kinds of e-cigarettes, whether vape or heat-not-burn tobacco.
The Philippine Pediatric Society expressed support to the call of the Department of Finance to ban vapes in the country as it repeatedly cautioned young people that vaping is dangerous to their health. The dangers of vape to public health results to increased global actions against the product. In the US, reports of seizures among vapers are being investigated,” says Dr. Riz Gonzalez, chairperson of the Philippine Pediatric Society – Tobacco Control Advocacy Group (PPS-TCAG). “The call of Secretary Dominguez for the ban of e-cigarettes should be heeded by our legislators. As we speak, a growing number of children are becoming nicotine addicts because of these e-cigarettes,” Dr. Gonzales added.
The latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey shows around 12% of kids aged 13-15 years have already tried using e-cigarettes. According to Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), “this data is extremely alarming.” He added that “if e-cigarettes are not banned, we may suffer a similar epidemic of youth nicotine addiction that has already happened in the US.”
In a statement issued by former United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, he said that “the most recent data show more than 3.6 million middle and high school students across the country were current (within the past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2018. This is a dramatic increase of 1.5 million students from the previous year.”
The Philippine Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is currently crafting an improved regulation governing the sale of all battery-operated tobacco devices. Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III recently said that FDA may come up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in three-months to six-months. This administrative order to be issued by DFA covers electronic nicotine delivery system and equally for the electronic non-nicotine delivery system. “We are reviewing it, and in no time, we will come up with the draft IRR probably in three to six months’ time,” Duque said.
“The Philippines will not be the first country to ban e-cigarettes,” says Atty. Jacky Sarita, managing director HealthJustice Philippines. “Around 45 countries have already banned e-cigarettes, mainly because of its possible negative health impact. Some of these countries are our neighbors, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.”
About HealthJustice Philippines
HealthJustice Philippines is a public health policy think tank, whose technical and legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion has led to important and landmark policy reforms in both national and local levels. It is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control for its work on reducing the burden of the tobacco epidemic in the Philippines. It is also the Philippine program partner of the global NCD Alliance and was recently accredited CSO consultative status for the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases.
Ralph Emerson Degollacion