A Party-list lawmaker has filed a bill that regulates the use of electronic cigarettes.
House Bill 5099 filed by Deputy Speaker, Rep. Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA mandates the regulation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS), Heat-Not-Burn devices, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
Otherwise known as the ENDS/ENNDS and HTPs Regulation Act of 2019, the bill is anchored on the concept of harm reduction, which refers to policies, regulations, and actions focusing on reducing health risks, usually by providing safer norms of hazardous products.
Proponents of harm reduction argue that people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar and gases.
“While there is a need to introduce safer alternatives to smoking tobacco, it must also be regulated to protect all the stakeholders involved,” Garin said in the bill’s explanatory note.
However, Garin sought to soften the impact of the tobacco-use reduction policy on tobacco farmers by way of improving access to credit, establishing well-developed supply chains, and helping them shift to viable alternative means of income.
Citing a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Garin said that smallholder tobacco farmers remain the most vulnerable in the rise of electronic cigarettes and the shifting economic landscape.
“Aside from the rising health concerns, regulation is imperative to balance factors such as revenue generation, trade and commerce, job creation, the protection of minors and non-smokers, and the interest of tobacco farmers. There are a number of other factors to consider,” she said.