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ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list calls to veto VAPE bill citing incorrect sole regulating body
ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list calls to veto “Vape Bill” or House Bill No. 9007, suggesting revision on the provisions and exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Industry in the mandate.
The “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act” which is currently awaiting approval at the Palace, states certain provisions wherein DTI will have the primary hand in governing the products which Representative Ray Florence Reyes refutes and strongly suggest being handed over to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which are only consultation bodies as written.
He questioned the various provisions which solely focused on the device instead of the nicotine- laced products which poses risk to health.
“Instead of the bill containing regulations for the e-liquids which contain nicotine substance, why are we looking into the mechanical working of the device? We should not be motivating our citizens to opt for vapes and e-cigarettes as ‘safe’ alternatives. It should be put into light that this should be a health bill, not a business bill. Moreover, any nicotine-containing products regardless of form remain a health risk,” Rep. Reyes stated.
“Section 17 and 20 of the bill for example, only touch regulations on the electrical device and standardization of the flavors and additives. Instead of scrapping this altogether, we, in the government position, even whip up more reasons for Filipinos to continue using these unsafe products. The younger generations, who are the large consumers of this product, and mostly turn to vape use are attracted due to the different flavors it offers that are deviant to traditional tobacco,” Rep. Reyes explained.
Rep. Reyes also raised concern that the bill also lowers the age of purchase and use of vapes from 21 down to 18 years old. In the 2019 Global Youth Tobacco Survey report, results stated that 1 in 7 Filipinos aged 13-15 uses e-cigarettes. A 2021 Pulse Asia survey also showed that an estimated 2.7 million Filipinos uses e-cigarettes or vaping devices.
According to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 87,600 Filipinos die every year due to tobacco use. In 2020, 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use- associated lung injury were confirmed with 68 deaths attributed to it as reported by the Johns Hopkins Medicine. An article by WebMD, a US-based health information website, disclosed that e- cigarette users were 56% more likely to have a heart attack.
Additionally, Rep. Reyes scrutinized the counter Senate Bill No. 2239 which had similar provisions of only regulating the device but not the liquids.
Rep. Reyes also agreed to the calls of different groups of vetoing the bill, citing multiple health risks.
“I agree that these bills will only expand access and do more harm not only to the young users but also to smokers who want to quit,” Rep. Reyes said.
A statistics study conducted by Gallup showed that 20% of vape users are people aged 18 to 29. Several studies have also found that long-term use of adulterated and unadulterated electronics nicotine systems produces aerosols that increase the risk of lung cancer, chronic heart and lung problems, and other related diseases to smoking. It also highlighted that nicotine use among children younger than 18 years old hampers brain development and hijacks the prefrontal cortex leading to addiction.