DOH urges Duterte to veto vape bill


The Department of Health (DOH) urged President Duterte to veto the proposed law that seeks to lower the age of those who can access vape and electronic cigarette products.

The Health agency said that the Senate Bill No. 2239 or the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act “contains retrogressive provisions.”

“Contrary to recent pronouncements by its advocates who are hailing it, the bill contains retrogressive provisions. It undermines existing national laws, policies, and standards on regulation, distribution, advertising, promotions, sale, and use of vapor products and heated tobacco products,” the DOH said in a statement on Saturday, April 30.

“These include: lowering the age of access from 21 to 18 years old, regulating the products as consumer products via the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) instead of as health products through the FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” the DOH said.

The bill also seeks to limit “graphic health warnings to just consumables (contrary to Republic Acts No. 11346 and 11467), enabling advertising and promotions through online means, and allowing the inclusion of flavorings and indoor use at points-of-sale as part of product demonstrations,” the DOH also noted.

The proposed law is “contrary to public health goals and to President Duterte's established position to protect Filipinos – especially the youth – from the harmful effects of smoke and emissions from tobacco products, vapor products, and heated tobacco products,” the DOH said.

“If passed, the Vape bill will also negate the gains of Republic Act No. 11223 (Universal Health Care Act) and other health laws. It will place Filipino youths at undue risk of harmful and addictive substances associated with vape use like alcohol, marijuana, and potentially other illicit drugs,” the DOH said.

“The veto of the Vape bill will strengthen tobacco control in the country and enable President Duterte to leave an enviable and lasting legacy that will guarantee the health of generations of Filipinos,” it added.

“The DOH remains committed to protecting the administration’s legacy in tobacco control and reducing the burden of the disease caused by these harmful products. Veto the Vape Bill! No to tobacco use! No to vape use! Yes to smoke-free and vape-free environments!,” it furthered.