Philippines: Bataan solon wants ban on e-cigarettes until these are cleared to be safe

11 March 2019
Charissa Luci-Atienza 
Manila Bulletin:

Bataan Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia III wants to restrict the importation, manufacture, use, sale, distribution and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.

He said the government should institute a policy to prohibit the importation, manufacture, use, sale, and distribution of electronic cigarettes until they are cleared to be safe to promote a healthy environment and protect the citizens from the hazards of e-cigarette use.

“In the Philippines, backyard manufacturing of e-cigarette flavorings and e-juices have become rampant. The fact that local manufacturers could mix their own juices and flavourings sans public disclosure of the ingredients and solutions used is very alarming. Unless sooner halted, this backyard manufacturing could no longer be controlled,” Garcia said.

He laments that electronic cigarette products were also untested for electrical or mechanical safety and has resulted in injuries to users.

“In fact, media reports of exploding e-cigarette products have become increasingly common, with more than 300 reports of related explosions all over the world,” he said.

Citing numerous studies, Garcia expressed concern that e-cigarette use re-normalizes and promotes cigarette smoking.  “As a matter of fact, while marketed as an alternative to tobacco use, a recent study by the University of California revealed that the use of e-cigarette actually reduces the likelihood that the people would quit smoking. Instead of quitting tobacco, they just eventually become dual users,” he said.

This is also the experience in the United Kingdom based on a 12-month prospective study published in 2018, he noted.

“The State should not and cannot tolerate any form of addiction. It is, therefore, urgent that these products are banned from the market until they are scientifically proven to be safe and non-addictive,” Garcia said.

Garcia filed House Bill 8671, the proposed Electronic Cigarette Restriction Act, seeking to ban the importation, manufacture, use, sale or distribution of e-cigarettes.

Under the bill, all forms of advertisements and promotions of e-cigarette are prohibited.

Violators of the proposed Act shall be slapped with a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million or an imprisonment of not more than six years or both, at the discretion of the court.

HB 8671 tasks the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to serve as the implementing agency of the proposed Act.(Charissa M. Luci-Atienza)