HEALTH societies across the country on Wednesday have made a last-ditch effort in urging President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the bill that would relax the regulation, sale and distribution of electronic vaporizers or vapes and cigarettes.
The Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Bill or “Vape Bill” is a consolidation of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239 which, according to its authors, allows Filipinos who want to quit smoking to have an “alternative.”
The consolidated version of bill has yet to reach Malacañang, but the groups believe that the delay in the transmittal of the law is a “delaying tactic” by the tobacco industry to ensure that the bill is transmitted before the end of his term.
“This would restrict the space for President Duterte to review or veto the vape bill, hence allowing it to lapse into law by default,” the group, led by the Philippine Medical Association and 59 other duly recognized health professional associations, said.
In a media briefing, Dr. Maria Minerva Calimag, incoming president of the Philippine Medical Association, said that the provisions of the bill is contrary to the provisions set by Republic Act 11346 or the sin tax law amendments and Executive Order 106 series of 2020 which regulates the sale of vapes.
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“These laws are yet to be implemented, but here we are, they have a new law that they are proposing,” Calimag said in Filipino.
She added that the long-term use of an adulterated and unadulterated electronic nicotine system produces aerosols that increases the risk of lung cancer, chronic heart and lung problems and other diseases related to smoking.
Dr. Riz Gonzalez of the Philippine Pediatric Society also stressed that the passage of the vape bill will only allow adolescents younger than 18 to have access with the devices amid an “alarming increase” of vape users among adolescents and non-tobacco users according to the World Health Organization.
“Science has proven that the young brain is developing until 25 years old, not at 18, Nicotine use in the young in any form, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hijacks the still-developing prefrontal cortex to achieve something pleasurable, ergo the dangerous nicotine addiction in the young,” Gonzalez added.
Dr. Antonio Dans of the Health Professionals Alliance against Covid-19 said that while they do not want the vape bill to be passed into law, they said that they do not push for the ban on the said device.
“We only ask for proper regulation by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)… we are [also] seeking regulation and implementation of the EOs,” Dans said.
He also stressed that the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes does not promote harm reduction, instead it causes harm, especially among the youth.
Moreover, groups of parents and cause-oriented youths called on President Duterte to veto the Vape Bill, claiming that it is an anti-health bill that will endanger children.
Parents against Vape Convener Imelda Gocotano said that there is an evil plan behind the bill that will pose danger to the youth.
The Child Rights Network also raised concerns about the bill, since it gives the tobacco industry a free pass to reach even children by lowering the age of access from 21 years old to 18 years old and allowing the online sale of e-cigarettes.