Since there is no law in the country that regulates the use of vaping products, Senator Francis Tolentino said Congress cannot levy additional taxes on these.
In a radio interview, Tolentino said there is still no regulation allowing vaping in the country.
“So how are we going to tax something which is not yet legal?” he said.
“If there is no regulation, it appears as something illegal. What I’m saying here is why are we going to impose taxes on something which entered the [local] market, but is not yet legal,” he added.
Tolentino said vaping could even endanger one’s health, citing studies from the United States stating that Vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in vaping products, could cause lung injuries. He added that vaping products contain tetrahydrocannabinol which causes hallucinations, much like in marijuana.
“There is no proof yet that this is harmless. Bakit natin papapasukin sa Pilipinas ito? Why should we legalize this?” he said.
For her part, Sen. Pia Cayetano said Senate Bill No. 1074 which she sponsored seeks to align the tax rate of heated tobacco products (HTPs) and vape with traditional cigarettes at P45 beginning next year, P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022, and P60 in 2023, with five percent annual increases from 2024 onward.
Health advocates said an increase in the funding gap for the Universal Health Care Law means efforts to increase excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, HTPs, and vapor products must now be a priority measure, according to health advocates.
“The amount anticipated to be received for the UHC through the national budget was P195 billion, but in fact, it is currently only P182 billion. Because of that, the gap increases,” Cayetano said.
According to Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Senate Bill No. 1074 is expected to raise at least P47.9 billion in incremental revenue for its first year of implementation, which would help bridge the funding gap for the first year of UHC.
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