Philippines: Banning of e-cigarettes urged until safe use is established

30 April 2018:

With doubts on the safety of the electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), anti-tobacco use group the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) has strongly pushed for the temporary banning of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) in the country.

Emer Rojas president of the Quezon City-based NVAP maintained that it is more logical for the government to momentarily prohibit the use of e-cigs in the country until its safety is fully determined by health experts.

“There is a need to ban e-cigarettes even at the local level until there is sufficient evidence that will prove that they are safe for consumers,” said Rojas.

“Public health and safety are just too big risks to allow e-cigarettes to continue proliferating and become more popular despite the numerous questions surrounding it,” he added.

Rojas’ call was in accordance with the position of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) regarding the banning of e-cigarette products.

“Developing countries must not be pressured into allowing ENDS until regulatory / governance issues are clear to protect the youth against e-cigs use and safety standards are established,” said SEATCA.

SEATCA noted that Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, and Thailand in the ASEAN region have already banned e-cigarettes.

Rojas said allowing the almost unregulated sale and use of ENDS clearly put at risk the lives of millions of Filipinos.

“Do we still have to wait for illnesses caused by e-cigarettes to increase as well as the number of those addicted to it before we impose a ban?” pointed Rojas.

This was seconded by the youth group Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition, saying the e-cigarette users, especially the youth, need to be protected against this dangerously growing fad.

“More and more young people are getting hooked to e-cigarettes. Most place, not only flavorings but nicotine itself that makes it more addictive. Are they really safe for people?” said Ellirie Aviles, Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition President.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals while resembling traditional tobacco cigarettes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are clear health risks related to ENDS use as well as second-hand exposure to its various toxicants.

Rojas also noted how the WHO has already said that there is insufficient evidence of e-cigarettes being effective smoking cessation tools.

“It should also be stressed out that the emerging ENDS market is now increasingly being invaded by tobacco companies. It indicates that no less than the same manufacturers of traditional cigarettes are seeing its potential to continue the beginnings of the cigarette smoking industry,” warned Rojas.

Aside from potential health risks, Rojas stressed that there have been numerous cases of e-cigarette explosions across the globe, causing injuries to its users and people around them.

Citing data by the ASEAN Tobacco Watch, Rojas said there have been 243 cases of e-cigarette explosions as of May 2017, mostly coming from North America and European countries and others from the Philippines and Malaysia.

“This may also happen to anybody with very serious physical harm effects. But why take that risk? Government, especially local governments must include e-cigarette bans in their smoke-free ordinances to protect the people from this emerging threat of addiction,” said Rojas.

Source: Manila Bulletin