Some health advocacy groups on Thursday urged the lawmakers to strengthen further the law on e-cigarettes, also called Vape Law, citing some negative provisions of the measure which has lapsed into law.
Representatives of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, the Philippine Pediatric Society, the Parents Against Vape, and the Health Justice Philippines expressed disapproval of the new law.
During the regular Pandesal Forum sponsored by the Kamuning Bakery Cafe, Health Justice Philippines legal consultant Ben Nisperos said their groups believe that vapes or e-cigarettes are bad for the health and a threat against the youth.
“What we want is to closely monitor implementation of the vape law, if possible, we want it to be reversed and amended. There are already proposed laws to amend it,” Nisperos said,
Imelda Gocotano, Parents Against Vape convenor, said they want to have a smoke-free and nicotine addiction-free environment for their children.
“The law must be reversed to protect the Filipino youth from the harms of these toxic products,” she said.
The groups also deplored that the vape law lowers the age of access to vape and e-cigarette products from 21 years old to 18 years old.
Philippine Pediatric Society’s anti-smoking task force head Corry Avanceña said the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) should be the agency to regulate vape products, not the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). With Stephanie Caesar, Chelsea Din, and Gabriellea Parino
“Anything that affects the health should be under the FDA. “What’s funny is that around the world, am I right, it is the only time that vape is under DTI,” she said.
Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) president Imelda Muriel-Mateo said health professionals will share the burden when smokers develop illness due to the use of the vapes.
“Kami po together with the Department of Health, kasama ang Philippine Medical Association, lahat po din ng asosasyong medical, we abhor and we are saddened by the lapsing into law of the vape bill,” she said.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) expressed regrets that the controversial vape bill is now a law, promising to continue warning Filipinos about the ill effects of vapes and tobacco products.
“We believe that vape products contain the highly addicting nicotine which is toxic to developing fetuses and harm the developing adolescent brain. The fact still remains that e-cigarettes are not safe,” Parents Against Vape leader Imelda Gocotano said.
Popularly known as the Vape Law, the measure was met with contrasting views from experts from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The oppositors noted that the new law contradicted the drive for a thriving public health.
Avanceña debunked however, the belief that vapes are less harmful than regular cigarettes since there aren’t many conducted studies about it.
“Vaping, they’re marketing it as a harm reduction, they can’t say that for sure because it’s currently being studied,” Avanceña said.
She also pointed out that young people usually get their nicotine products from online markets and adults that sell them. Thus Avanceña emphasized the call for a law that will help health experts teach their patients how to control their cigarette intake.
Additionally, the coalition of parents and concerned citizens against vaping and smoking novel tobacco products cried out for a safer and tobacco-free environment for the youth.
“The tobacco companies want their products easily accessible, especially to our children. The law must be reversed to protect the Filipino youth from the harm of these toxic products,” Gocotano stated.
Advocates further called on the current administration to implement stricter policies on the consumption of tobacco and nicotine products as it targets the pulmonary resilience and strength of the youth.
Parents were also advised to be more vigilant about the products they deemed “toxic and undesirable” to establish a tobacco and nicotine addiction-free future for the youth.
“At a time where we are at a health emergency and fighting for our lives and survival, we cannot let another epidemic happen to our children and the youth. We cannot bet on a future where our children are addicted to these nicotine products,” Gocotano said, adding that it victimizes the youth.
Nisperos hoped that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will order the DOH and the FDA to create stricter provisions for the current vape law which are the RA 11467 and EO 106, issued during the Duterte administration.
“Science is telling us that stricter regulations will help our youth, our children, and will keep them away from these harmful products and prevent them from nicotine addiction. We want to prevent the youth and non-smokers from using vape and tobacco products,” Nisperos said.
Results from the conducted Global Youth Tobacco Survey earlier this year cited that there was a 110 percent increase in vape use within just 4 years.
Furthermore, a study by the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Department of Education shows that the demography of the youth who start using e-cigarettes begins at the younger ages of 10 to 15 years old.