More groups express support to Vape Bill…


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more-groups-express-support-to-vape-bill…

MANILA. Dr. Fernando Fernandez, past president of Philippine College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, is one of those who signed the letter addressed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asking the latter to sign into law the proposed Vape Bill. (Contributed photo)

ANOTHER group of experts from the fields of medicine and science urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to sign into law the proposed “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulations Act,” also known as Vape Bill, to bring down the number of smoking-related illnesses and deaths in the country.

The experts, which include mostly of doctors and some other health professionals, educators, researchers and scientists, penned a letter to Marcos to lay down the benefits of the measure in a bid to save “countless lives” from the dangerous effects of tobacco smoking.

“We believe the passage of the Vape Bill will be a historic milestone that will become part of your administration’s legacy. Once enacted into law, it will reinforce the concerted efforts to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, and help save countless lives,” read the letter.

“The potential benefits of saving, or at the very least enhancing the quality of lives and improving long-term outcomes of smokers, with this bill once enacted into law, is a big opportunity we could not afford to lose,” it added.

The group said that based on the data from the Department of Health (DOH), there are more than 16 million smokers in the Philippines at present.

The agency said many of these smokers could not stop smoking despite joint efforts by themselves and their physicians at complete smoking cessation.

They said that approximately 110,000 Filipinos in the country die each year, or about 330 per day, due to smoking-related illnesses, such as lung cancer, stroke and heart attack.

Smoking-related complications can, however, be prevented if smokers will be given “viable alternatives.”

The group, however, maintained that it is advocating non-use of tobacco cigarettes and that it welcomes any initiative that could help someone quit smoking.

“We are referring to smoking alternatives like vape products that could, at the very least, help mitigate the risks of serious smoking-related complications,” the group said.

“While there is no debate that vaping is not completely safe and still contains harmful chemicals, it is also indisputable that it is far less harmful than continued smoking — as concluded by numerous public scientific data and studies around the world. Vape products also contain far less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes,” it added.

Taking it from the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) that only four percent of Filipino smokers quit each year, the group said it will take roughly around 25 years for all the 16 million Filipinos to stop consuming tobacco cigarettes.

They said this still does not include new smokers in the next 25 years.

“Mr. President, we all agree that we must exert all efforts to save as many smokers’ lives as we can. Passing into law the vape bill is a significant starting point and a definitive step in the right direction to drastically reduce the number of smokers and the resulting deaths. Hopefully, it could help with our ultimate objective of making smokers quit for good,” the letter stated.

The group said other countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland have already come up with measures similar to the vape bill to encourage their smokers to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes.

In a study conducted by the UK government, it was found that vape products were twice as effective in making smokers quit as compared to nicotine replacement therapies.

A US study also found that the “replacement of most cigarette use by e-cigarette use over a 10-year period could yield up to 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost.”

“The bottom line is that vaping can help smokers stop smoking and in the process reduce the number of deaths and sickness due to smoking,” the group told Marcos.

The group reiterated, however, its support to the provisions of the proposed Vape Bill that prohibit minors from accessing vape products, as well as banning flavor descriptors that appeal to minors.

“There is no debate that these products should not be sold to minors or non-smokers. Thus, we welcome the inclusion of penal provisions in the vape bill to add more teeth for its proper enforcement,” it said.

The vape bill, a consolidated version of Senate Bill 2239 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act” and House Bill 9007 or the “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act,” is pending at the Office of the President. It is set to lapse into a law on July 24.

The bill seeks to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and communication of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, as well as novel tobacco products.

Other groups of doctors and health practitioners also earlier expressed support for the vape bill, saying it will pave the way to those wanting to quit from using the traditional cigarettes. (SunStar Philippines)


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