Sign vape bill, Duterte urged |


Delon Porcalla – The Philippine Star

May 6, 2022 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Going against recommendations of the World Health Organization, the Department of Health (DOH) and medical organizations, an alliance of vape consumers and retailers urged President Duterte to sign the Congress-approved bill that will regulate the use and sale of e-cigarettes and vapes in the country.

In a press briefing yesterday, Vapers Alliance president Fernando Rodrigo Jr. and several board members pushed for the enactment of Senate Bill 2239 or the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, which they said will generate billions of taxes for the government.

“We will not allow our children to use vape, but we will help them make a choice once they reach adulthood. Once passed, the provisions of this bill will ban the sale of vape products to minors and penalize offenders with imprisonment or fine,” Rodrigo said.

The group also defended the use of vape as a “smoking cessation option,” claiming it is not in any way addicting as there is “no medical proof” that it contains “illegal substances.”

“In fact, in other countries this alternative is being recommended by hospitals. We are a living proof that this is safe. Personally, we don’t support what they (critics) are saying,” said vaping advocate Dominic Bayon, referring to the Department of Health who wants the bill vetoed.

For his part, Rodrigo cited the case of United Kingdom that has openly endorsed vape and where hospitals even offer such to smokers by calling it “smoking cessation option.”

“There is no direct correlation between vape and the alleged addiction of children,” he claimed.

SB 2239 and its counterpart bill in the House of Representatives have been approved by both houses and whose conflicting provisions have already been ironed out in the bicameral conference committee.

The DOH and the biggest medical groups in the country have strongly urged the President to veto the bill.

Act 11467 (excise tax on products) allows persons 18 years of age to smoke (and even drive) but “cannot have access to vape products until they turn 21.”

“We believe that the regulation of the industry should be fair to all concerned. We strive to save the 16 million smokers by offering an alternative that is proven to be 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes,” the group said.

“As citizens, we would also like to contribute to the national coffers through taxes generated by the industry. With the number of smokers that this innovation can save, considerable amounts will also be generated as revenue to the government,” it added.

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