Philippines: Youth groups urge senate to junk vape bill

24 August 2021

Dang Samson Garcia. Source: The Post

DIFFERENT youth and student organizations on Monday urged the Senate to junk a measure that relaxes regulations on the sale, manufacture and marketing of vapes and e-cigarettes in the country.

Senate Bill 2239 or the Non-Combustible Delivery Systems Act, commonly-referred to as Vape Bill, is pending for plenary deliberations.

In a statement signed by more than 20 youth organizations, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines or SCAP said the bill will put young people’s health at risk as it weakens existing public health regulations, while prioritizing industries that profit from the harms brought by the manufacture and sale of vapes and e-cigarettes.

SCAP National Secretary-General Nathalie Walker said that the organization opposes the measure because it will lower the minimum age of purchase of said products from 21 to 18 years old.

“This is ‘two steps back’ from existing regulations set by current laws to protect public health,” Walker said.

“We should instead strengthen regulations on age access to protect young people and public health, especially during this pandemic,” she added.

Walker stressed that the bill is also contrary to prevailing medical opinion that nicotine exposure at a young age hinders the maximum development of the brain as he cited the medical opinion of the Philippine Pediatric Society.

Dr. Dexter Galban, Chief Executive Officer of youth-led digital health social enterprise Alaga Health, said that the Vape Bill espouses the false narrative that vapes and e-cigarettes reduce the harm caused by smoking.

“Vapes and e-cigarettes are neither effective harm reduction tools nor are helpful to smokers who want to quit,” he said.

“Masked by flavors and scents, these products still cause harm to smokers because they keep them highly dependent on dangerous substances. Some smokers end up consuming both, leading to even more significant health threats. There are also thousands of harmful chemicals inside vapes and e-cigarettes that cause lung injury,” Galban added.

“We urge our lawmakers to uphold and protect Filipinos’ health by voting against Senate Bill No. 2239,” the youth groups asked the senators.

“Stricter regulations on the manufacture, sale, distribution, advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of vaporized nicotine products to protect the youth and non-smokers from their harmful effects should instead be championed,” they added.


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