EDITORIAL: Regulating the vape

At some point in the lives of smokers, a shift to something ‘less damaging’ is next to quitting, if at all the latter is not possible. So a number of smokers shifted to vaporized nicotine products or vape and quit cigarettes.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) sees no difference. Vaping is still a health risk to both the vape smoker and the non-smoker who inhales secondary smoke.

To this end, a measure that would police the use, sale, packaging, distribution, and advertisements of vaporized nicotine products has been passed in Congress.

House Bill 3330 or the “Vaporized Nicotine Product Regulation Act” is under deliberations. It seeks to guarantee the safety of our Filipino consumers and provide a clear-cut policy in addressing the concerns and issues concerning the use of e-cigarettes.

The Department of Health (DOH) recently urged lawmakers to adopt the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to disallow the use of vaporized nicotine products in indoor spaces.
However, there are no medical and scientific findings regarding the safety of e-cigarettes. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration likewise has no validation as to the risks of vaping. Neither have there been studies supporting these products to have the absolute propensity as reduced risk nicotine-delivery systems.

The bill requires all vaping products to be registered at the Department of Trade and Industry three months prior to its release in the market. Under the bill, vaporized nicotine products shall contain instructions for its handling, use, and maintenance with a health warning that shall read as “this product may damage your health and is addictive”. The bill also prohibits minors from purchasing and using vaporized nicotine products. Purchasing vaporized nicotine products from a minor is also forbidden as part of the stringent regulation of e-cigarettes.

It is interesting to note that even before the bill is passed, vaping has already been regulated in Davao City under its amended Anti-Smoking Ordinance.
Davao City’s model can best bolster the passage of the vaping regulation measure.