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Philippines: Vape bill to protect Pinoy youth? A ‘blatant lie’, says Pia

5 March 2022

By: Joseph Pedrajas Source: Manila Bulletin

Senator Pia Cayetano on Saturday, March 5 called out the proponents of the vape bill for supposedly claiming that the measure is beneficial to the youth, calling the claim “a blatant lie.”

Cayetano argued that if the proponents said that the bill solidifies the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 11467 by strengthening the flavor ban on electronic cigarettes, then “They should have just kept the provision of the Sin Tax Law, which limits vape flavors to plain tobacco and plain menthol only.”

But Cayetano noted that the proponents instead “provided wording that allows hundreds and thousands of flavors to flood the market”.

“How will they even regulate all these flavors? In the US, 55,000 flavors were rejected by the US (United States) FDA for failing to provide evidence that they protect public health,” the lawmaker said in a statement.

“Kaya ba natin gawin yun dito? Eh tinanggal pa nga nila sa bill nila ang FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) bilang regulatory body sa e-cigarettes at flavors (Can we do it here? They even removed from the bill the FDA as a regulatory body on e-cigarettes and flavors),” she added.

For Cayetano, the youth would be better protected if the government would retain the regulation to harmful products to those 21 years old above.

“But instead, they made it easier for the youth to access the same,” she added.

The Sin Tax Reform Law of 2020 only allows those 21 years old to purchase harmful products, but the vape bill lowered it to 18 years old.

On Dec. 16, 2021, the Senate approved on third and final reading Senate Bill (SB) 2239 or the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, which allows those 18 years old and above access to vaporized nicotine products.

“So now even senior high school students can buy and use vapes. So where’s the ‘protection’ for the youth that the vape bill proponents claim?” Cayetano asked.