The Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed support for the proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF) to ban the unregistered online selling of sin products such as alcohol, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and other novel tobacco products.
In a joint statement Monday, the two agencies said that the initiative is part of efforts for a comprehensive prohibition on all forms of advertising, promotions, and sponsorships by the alcohol and tobacco industries.
They underscored that the government must exercise its duty to protect the health of the people especially of teenagers who can potentially use online platforms to freely access these products and pick up the habit of smoking or alcohol drinking in the long term.
“Consumer safeguards such as seller registration, product quality, and safety mechanisms to validate the recipients of the products are essential in preventing transactions to minors. Expanding this regulatory purview to cover the online selling of these sin products is a progressive step in protecting the health of Filipinos,” the health agencies said.
The agencies said they will collaborate with the DOF, Department of Trade and Industry, and other government agencies to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework to allow only registered sellers and place appropriate safeguards to protect vulnerable age groups.
They also emphasized that with the wider and easier access to sin products through technology, regulatory purview should be expanded to ensure that online selling is similarly covered.
“It cannot be overstated that in this time of pandemic, health should be of utmost priority. Products that increase the risk of contracting and developing a more severe form of coronavirus disease and its comorbidities should be avoided, if not totally eliminated,” the agencies stated.