2 September 2019
Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA — Health groups on Monday said there is no scientific evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are safe.
“Even in the UK, where e-cigarettes are heavily promoted, no public health authority has claimed that these products are safe. The public and public servants in a position to protect public health must be fully apprised of the risks inherent to vaping,” Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said in a statement.
SEATCA is a multisectoral alliance supporting effective tobacco control policies in Asean countries in line with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Dorotheo was reacting to a proposed Pasig City ordinance that seeks to regulate vaping, and to the claims of vaping proponents who claim that the safety of e-cigarettes is “based on evidence.”
On Aug. 23, the Pasig City’s joint committees on appropriations, ways and means, trade, commerce and industry and health, sanitation and nutrition conducted a public hearing about the proposed ordinance.
Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza, president of HealthJustice, said the tobacco industry “is behind the vaping lobby — brainwashing the public into thinking e-cigarettes are safe”.
“The vaping industry is just the tobacco industry in different clothes. Because it is undisputed that smoking traditional cigarettes is a public health hazard, the tobacco industry would now have us believe that vaping or smoking e-cigarettes is safe. It is not. It’s just another form of addiction and the tobacco industry’s new source of income,” Mendoza said.
Dorotheo urged smokers to focus on quitting smoking rather than shifting to vaping.
“Quitting smoking is possible. It is the best thing that can happen to a smoker, and millions of people have successfully quit even before the advent of vaping,” he said.
Dorotheo also cited that the first death worldwide linked to vaping happened in Illinois where the victim developed a severe lung disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States is investigating 215 reported cases of severe lung disease associated with e-cigarette use across 25 US states.
Mendoza said vaping is a public health issue which must be dealt with collective efforts.
“As such, it is most prudent to exercise caution. Stop spreading word that e-cigarettes are safe if only to prevent more people, especially our youth, from falling prey to yet another public health hazard,” she added. (PNA)