Groups advocate smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes |…


VARIOUS groups from the Philippines continue to advocate for smoke-free alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products as other countries in Southeast Asia started pushing for the regulation of smoke-free alternatives to reduce harm from smoking.

The proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act or vape bill passed by Congress is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Thailand is in the process of adopting a law that will lift the ban on vaping to provide adult smokers smoke-free alternatives that are considered less harmful than cigarette smoking. A draft legislation that seeks to legalize e-cigarettes has been filed at a sub-committee of Thailand’s parliament. Thailand Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn expressed support for the passage of the bill.

Nicotine Consumers Union of the Philippines President Anton Israel said that providing alternatives to more people will reduce the harmful effects of smoking. He added that more countries are beginning to realize that the best way to reduce harm from smoking is to provide consumers with better choices such as electronic cigarettes and HTPs.

“Asian consumers deserve the same access to smoke-free cigarettes as what consumers in the US and Europe get. We hope that more Southeast Asian nations will adopt the more pragmatic and scientific approach to reduce the harm from smoking,” Israel said.

Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates Philippine Representative Clarisse Virgino said that more Southeast Asian countries are expected to look at the Philippines experience in “welcoming tobacco harm reduction is the most effective public health strategy to address the smoking problem.”

Similarly, Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association President Joey Dulay supported the passage of the Vape Bill, saying that the regulation of innovative alternative products will allow the vaping industry to meet government standards, thus avoiding an underground market

‘We hope that Thailand and other Asean countries will pass their own version of the Vape bill which was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers in the Philippines. This is to ensure that nicotine delivery systems are properly regulated,” he said.

The Vape bill was ratified by the Philippine Congress but the Department of Health rallied for the veto of the measure, saying vape products are harmful and not risk-free.

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