Philippines: DOH calls for parental guidance over vaping

3 November 2018:
Source: Sun Star

THE Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday that it will still have to rely on parental guidance in policing the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other vaping devices even as it continues to evaluate the safety and health issues of the said products.

In a statement, the DOH appealed anew to parents and guardians to be vigilant in their children’s exposure to said products.

“The DOH cautions parents and guardians to be vigilant and to exert more effort in discouraging minors from using e-cigarettes or vaping devices,” the statement read.

The department said that this is because the said devices are not toys and contain concomitant health and safety hazards. Also, exposure to such devices may eventually lure teenagers to pick up the habit of smoking.

The DOH issued the advisory after the recent explosion of a vaping device while being used by a 17-year old.

The patient was admitted at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City in October 30.

According to the EAMC, the patient suffered injuries to the lips, oral mucosa, palate, and tongue, as well as burns and hematoma in the upper and lower lids of the eye.

“Vaping devices are electronic devices, which can cause severe burns and injuries that may require intensive and prolonged medical treatment,” noted the health department.

The DOH said the cause of the explosion remains uncertain but that it appears to be related to poorly-designed lithium-ion batteries, use of wrong charger, over-charging, or incorrectly storing the device, which may lead to overheating, fire, and explosion.

According to the mother of the patient, as quoted by the DOH, the batteries used were swapped and exchanged by the patient through acquaintances in social media.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat e-liquids to produce aerosols that users inhale by mimicking the act of smoking.

At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still looking into the safety and health issues of such products and devices.

Nevertheless, the FDA is already regulating e-cigarettes as medicinal products because of its nicotine content.

However, no device or e-liquids have been registered nor evaluated by the agency for safety, efficacy, and quality, so far.