In response to recent arguments by Senator Pia Cayetano, who said that vape flavours and other features of vapes are designed to attract teens, the Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) Nancy Loucas, said that these concerns have already been addressed in the recently set vape bill.
“Any concerns about youth vaping are well covered in last year’s landmark vape law. The Philippines has more than enough regulations and safeguards now in place, without a Senator trying to relitigate everything,” highlighted Loucas.
The Philippines Vape Bill is a reconciled 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., and regulates the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).
Senator Pia Cayetano has recently delivered a speech where she claimed that vapes are designed in a way to draw in young people. However advocates of the vape bill strongly argue that the measure already protects minors, because amongst other things it helps to eradicate black markets and ensure safety standards, while making the products accessible to adult smokers seeking to quit.
“Without doubt, the legislation and regulations are aimed at protecting youth, despite it not being expressly stated in the statute. For example, there are provisions that expressly provide prohibition on selling to minors,” continued Loucas, while adding that the bill contains a provision clearly prohibiting flavour descriptions that are appealing to youth.
Boosting enforcement against vape retailers infringing regulations
Meanwhile, earlier this month the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will be boosting its enforcement against retailers who sell vaping products which are somehow in violation of the recently set vape bill. DTI Assistant Secretary Ann Claire Cabochan revealed this intention during a recent public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation and Futures Thinking.
Cabochan said that some violators have already been identified, some who were illicitly selling the products within close proximity to places frequented by teens, others selling products somehow appealing to youth and some selling products not carrying the required health warnings.
“I think there have been 23 firms. So, a total of 16 show cause orders were already issued by the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau,” said Cabochan, answering the query of Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva. She added that the DTI had already sent official warnings to online selling platforms urging them to comply with RA 11900.