The Philippines is being commended for doing a u-turn from its former prohibitionist stance to embracing tobacco harm reduction and regulating vaping products.
The Philippines Vape Bill is a reconciled version of Senate Bill 2239 or the ‘Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act’ which aims to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) and House Bill 9007 or the ‘Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act.’
A recent survey conducted in the Philippines by an Asian research network, found that nine out of ten, or 90%, of local smokers are in support of a public health strategy that endorses the use of safer nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.
Conducted by ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants and commissioned by consumer advocacy group Vapers PH, the study confirmed the wide public support for tobacco harm reduction. “Majority have positive perception, would consider switching to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and would like to have greater access to accurate information about these products,” said ACORN. Thankfully, the enactment of this bill means that the products are now legal and regulated.
“Enacting some of the most progressive vaping legislation in Asia Pacific now makes the Philippines an international leader in effective Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). It’s a massive wake-up call for other countries to also enable smokers to switch to safer nicotine products,” said Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) in a recent release.
The benefits of regulating vaping products
The move has long been advocated for by public health and tobacco harm reduction experts. President of consumer group Vapers PH and CAPHRA member, Peter Dator said that the products being regulated means that minors are protected, black markets are eradicated, safety standards are maintained, and adult accessibility to the products for smoking cessation is ensured.
“Nearly 90,000 Filipinos die annually from smoking-related diseases. Our nation has endured a terrible smoking epidemic for decades. By adopting a successful THR strategy we now join about 70 countries worldwide which are all seeing smoking rates fall. This is truly a landmark piece of legislation which I hope other countries now follow. Embracing vaping is the only way to eradicate smoking,” said Dator.