E-cigarettes easily available, are luring more teens, study says

2 November 2023

By Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco, Business Mirror

Philippines.

Smoking and vaping are prohibited in cemeteries on November 1 and 2.

Parents against Vape (PAV) and Youth Against Vape (YAV) said that people visiting their departed loved ones may be exposed to secondhand smoke if authorities don’t strictly implement the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 11900 or the Vape Law and Executive Order 26 or the Nationwide Smoking Ban. EO 26 provides for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed spaces while the vape law prohibits those 18 years old and below from using it.

“Families, including young children, troop to cemeteries to remember their dearly departed loved ones. Let us allow families to have a safe space to pray and honor the dead by ensuring that cemeteries are free from cigarette smoke and vape aerosols,” PAV said. “Local government units should not allow smoking in public places including cemeteries and memorial parks.” 

“Apart from the vape law and EO 26, we also have another law, RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act, that aims to achieve and maintain healthy air for all Filipinos. This means exposure to secondhand smoke should be avoided as it can cause coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other diseases. It can also result in premature death,” PAV added.

For its part, YAV urged their fellow youth not to start the habit of vaping. “Contrary to what the tobacco industry wants us to believe, vapes or e-cigarettes are not safe.

According to the American Lung Association, e-cigarettes contain chemicals that can cause irreversible lung damage and alter teen brains. They contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer, and nicotine, which is highly addictive.”

Youth on e-cigarettes

The results of the 2019 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) revealed that there is a higher prevalence of e-cigarettes use than the use of any other tobacco products among Filipino students aged 13 to 15 years.

About 14.1 percent, or one in seven, students aged 13 to 15 said that they are currently using e-cigarettes. Overall, about one in eight students of the same age group (12.5 percent) are currently using various tobacco products. One in four (24.5 percent), meanwhile, have tried using e-cigarettes.

The GYTS is a cross-sectional, nationally representative school-based survey of students in grades seven to 10, with ages 13 to 15 years. Conducted in the Philippines in 2019 by the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health in coordination with the Department of Education and Centers for Health Development, the survey involved a total of 6,670 students under the said age bracket.

The GYTS also revealed how easy it is for the youth to buy tobacco products in the country, with about two in five students who currently smoke (37 percent) saying that it was easy for them to buy tobacco products regardless of their age.

“This data should serve as a wake-up call for our legislators to consider amending the vape law to increase the age of accessibility from 18 to 21 years old, and limit the flavors to menthol and tobacco. Flavors entice the youth to try vapes and e-cigarettes. Therefore, flavors shouldn’t be attractive to the youth,” YAV said.