Senate OKs hotly debated vape bill -…


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—PHOTO BY RICHARD A. REYES

After intense debate, a proposed legislation looking for to manage the sale and distribution of digital cigarettes or vaping merchandise was authorized by the Senate on third and ultimate studying on Thursday.

The vote was 19-2, with 2 abstentions, for Senate Invoice No. 2239, which units restrictions to the use and sale of vaporized nicotine merchandise (VNP), together with an age restrict for its customers.

However the authorized model of the invoice truly lowers the minimal age of allowed customers from 21 years outdated to 18, and takes vape merchandise away from the regulatory powers of the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) and into the ambit of the Division of Commerce and Business (DTI).

The invoice’s staunchest critic, Sen. Pia Cayetano, took the ground after the vote to ship a scathing speech on its passage.

“This Senate has allowed a provision in this bill that will now turn over that duty [of regulation] to the DTI. What business does the DTI have to regulate health? To ensure that the flavors and scents of those products that we inhale now [will be inhaled] by anyone that is 18 years and 1 day old?” she mentioned.

4 % of Filipinos use vape merchandise, based on a Pulse Asia survey that was carried out on Sept. 6-11 amongst 1,200 respondents nationwide to realize perception on vaping and e-cigarette habits within the nation. Its outcomes have been launched in November.

Seventy-seven % of Filipinos imagine that vape merchandise are a critical well being hazard, 74 % assist a 100-percent “vapes-free policy” in public locations, and 70 % assist a coverage limiting entry to vapes and e-cigarettes to these at the least 21 years outdated.

‘Sin’ merchandise

In her speech, Cayetano famous how, within the 2019 deliberations on the then proposed amendments to the “sin tax” payments, heated tobacco merchandise (HTPs) and VNPs have been considered “sin” merchandise that Congress determined to manage via prohibitive tax impositions.

She mentioned that again then, the Senate meant to restrict customers to these at the least 21 years outdated and to restrict the flavors to plain tobacco and plain menthol, and that in discussions on sin tax legal guidelines, Congress had all the time given the facility of regulation to the FDA.

“Here today, we witness history. SB 2239 reverses the protective measures that we as a Congress, as a Senate, put in. Why would we reduce it, Your Honors?” she mentioned.

Cayetano mentioned the FDA had been regulating different merchandise that “have the potential to do much good,” reminiscent of insect repellants, pores and skin lotions, perfumes, solar blocks, and important oils.

She identified that the US FDA had banned some 55,000 vape flavors as a result of they “did not meet the scrutiny of public health.”

“It hurts me deeply, that I have not been able to convince my colleagues, [that] simply … allowing the FDA to do its job is not good enough for this Senate. It hurts me that I am unable to communicate that well, because what I hear, we want to give this product a chance to save lives,” she mentioned.

‘Critical yes’

Cayetano additionally expressed remorse that her colleagues had rejected her proposed amendments to the invoice, together with elevating the age restrict for allowable vape use to at the least 21.

Senate Minority Chief Franklin Drilon likewise delivered a speech to make clear that his vote on the measure was a “critical yes,” with a view to present people who smoke an opportunity to stop and have another in e-cigarettes and vape merchandise.

“My vote comes with a caveat that if and when it is conclusively and concretely shown that vaping is as harmful as cigarette smoking, and that [vape products] have instead ensnared our youth into addiction, I would come back to the Senate as a retiree to ask and beg you, my esteemed colleagues, for a repeal of this measure,” he mentioned.

Drilon mentioned his vote shouldn’t be taken to imply he had modified his antismoking stance.

“I do not need a surgeon general’s warning to say that smoking is harmful to one’s health. Smoking kills, period,” he mentioned.

Drilon additionally famous how within the final twenty years, the federal government had used “compulsion and coercion as [its] main weapons against cigarette smoking.”

“Perhaps it is time to use persuasion,” he mentioned.

Sen. Joel Villanueva mentioned that whereas he had voted in favor of the invoice, it was “with serious reservations” that he vowed to clarify at size in writing.

Govt order

In February 2020, President Duterte signed Govt Order No. 106 ordering a ban on the manufacture, distribution, advertising and sale of unregistered vaping merchandise and their use in public locations.

Home Invoice No. 9007, or the proposed “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act,” which seeks to manage the manufacture, sale, and use of much less dangerous alternate options to cigarettes reminiscent of vapes and HTPs, was authorized by the Home of Representatives in Might.

The invoice prohibits, amongst others, the sale to minors of vape merchandise and HTPs; the usage of these merchandise in all enclosed public locations (besides in designated areas), colleges, hospitals, authorities workplaces and amenities meant for minors; and the sale or distribution of those merchandise inside 100 meters from the perimeter of a college, playground, or different facility frequented by minors. —With a report from Inquirer Analysis

Sources: Inquirer Archives, congress.gov.ph, Pulse Asia

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