The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association said it stands to lose its market share to big pharmaceutical companies and cigarette manufacturers because of stringent regulation.
It said the government’s stringent rules requiring e-liquid manufacturers to put up a plant comparable to that of a pharmaceutical company was a deterrent to continue its members’ operations.
“We suspect now that this is a ban―a de facto ban meaning they issue something that at a glance will seem easy for us to comply with but in fact impossible for us to adhere to,” said PECIA president Joey Dulay at the sidelines of a forum on alternative tobacco conducted by advocacy group Ideas.
PECIA is the country’s biggest vaping industry group composed of vape shops owners, e-liquid manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, importers, and exporters.
Dulay said an initial investment of P200 million would be needed to put up a facility that follows pharmaceutical inspection cooperation scheme which is a standard for sterile products like drugs and medicines.
About 5 percent of the smoking population in the Philippines are vapers, said Dulay.
Data presented by the National Tobacco Administration showed that cigarette and cigar production declined from 90.38 billion sticks in 2013 to 60.58 billion sticks in 2017.
E-cigarettes imports also declined from 7,245.21 kilograms in 2016 to 1,499.18 kg as of Aug. 31, 2018.
Dulay said the future of e-cigarette as an industry still looked promising, if not only for the “black propaganda on health claims” and other challenges the industry was facing.
About 98 percent of alternative tobacco products are locally-made. Majority of imports are vaping and e-cigarette devices from China.
NTA deputy administrator Rohbert Ambros said tobacco use prevalence among Filipino adults declined from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 23.8 percent in 2015,