President Rodrigo Duterte justified his imposition of a total ban on vaping nationwide, saying he is merely wielding his power to protect the public from health risks.
Duterte, in an interview with CNN Philippines, said he had to order the prohibition against vaping devices because these are “another form of cigarettes” that also contain nicotine and other potentially toxic substances.
“Under our existing laws, you cannot smoke cigarette in public because there is nicotine, correct? Here comes vaping that is substitute for nicotine. But it also has nicotine so you still contaminate,” he said.
“And all over the world, it’s now being banned. In Australia, in Singapore, it’s considered poison. So I have the right to say—Do not allow it. Do not sell it,” the President added.
Duterte’s total ban on the use and manufacture of e-cigarettes came after the Department of Health confirmed that a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas became the country’s first patient suffering from vape’s hazardous effects.
Around one million Filipinos use vaping devices and 25 percent of them are aged between 10 to 19 years old, according to DOH data.
The Health department had warned that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals like nicotine, ultra-fine particles, carcinogens, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds.
Duterte said he has to forbid the use of e-cigarettes as he does not want to be remembered as “the President who did nothing to help the people in the health issues.”
“Now the government has the right to come out with measures to protect public interest, public health, public education, public works and so on and so forth. I cannot wait Congress because Congress knows that it has nicotine. Congress knows that vaping cannot be used in public,” he said.
“And Congress should know that contraband should not be allowed to be sold because when you use it with other chemicals and nicotine. It produces another chemical of which government does not know. And it is my sworn duty to protect public health and public safety,” Duterte added.