“President Duterte will not undo his work versus addiction.”
This was the statement of public interest law group ImagineLaw on Wednesday as Congress is set to transmit to Malacañan the consolidated version of Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, otherwise known as the Vape Bill. “He will not renege on his promise to protect young people from the harms of vapes and e-cigarettes,” the law group added.
The measure seeks to lower the age of accessibility of vape and e-cigarette products from the current 21 years old to 18 years old. It will also transfer the regulatory powers over said products from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among other regressive provisions.
The measure has been heavily criticized by the Department of Health and medical associations. Health advocates also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the measure.
“The Vape Bill is a betrayal of public health and directly contradicts the President’s strong stance against vaping, e-cigarette use, and addictive substances,” said ImagineLaw Executive Director Atty. Sophia San Luis. The law group recalled that the President issued Executive Order No. 26 which established smoke-free environments in 2017 and declared that ‘public health takes precedence over any commercial and business interest’.
“The President also previously issued Executive Order No. 106 that strengthened regulations on vape and e-cigarette products and established policies to protect the public, including recognizing that long-term use of these products is expected to increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, possible cardiovascular disease, and other diseases,” San Luis also said.
“We expect the President to maintain his strong stance against vapes and e-cigarettes and veto the measure,” she added. “If President Duterte signs the Vape Bill into law, it will undo his years of work in protecting the youth and the public from the harms of smoking, vapes, e-cigarettes, and addiction,” San Luis said.