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The House has approved a bill that regulates e-cigarettes.

The House of Representatives approved the bicameral conference committee report on a law regulating the importation, manufacturing, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and transmission of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, as well as new tobacco products, on Wednesday.

The chamber accepted the final version, which reconciles the conflicting clauses of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239, during the plenary session.

The bill, according to House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, aims to provide an alternative for Filipinos who want to quit smoking.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers would be forbidden from making posts, messages, or images that encourage the purchase and use of vape devices if the measure is signed into law.

The bill directs the Department of Health (DOH) to issue recommendations for the implementation of anti-smoking and anti-vaping campaigns.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will work with the Food and Drug Administration to develop technical standards for vape product safety, uniformity, and quality.

Manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sellers would then have an 18-month grace period to comply with the measure’s requirements after the implementing rules and regulations are issued.

This would include the vape items’ registration with the DTI.

The bill prohibits minors from purchasing, selling, or using vape products by lowering the minimum age for purchase, sale, and use to 18 years old.

According to a DOH news release issued on Sunday, the law is retrogressive and contains various measures that contravene public health aims and international norms, as well as undermining the country’s success in tobacco control.

It claimed that decreasing the age of access to vapor goods from 21 to 18, allowing flavorings, and allowing advertising and sponsorship techniques will expose young people to harmful and addictive chemicals by making vapor products appealing and easy to obtain.

Because of their hazardous chemicals and effects, the DOH believes that vape goods are harmful and not risk-free, and that they should be regulated as health products.

Nicotine, propylene glycol, carbonyls, and carbon monoxide are all substances found in vape liquids that are either addictive, poisonous, or can cause cancer.

Furthermore, research reveal that vaping raises the chance of utilizing other addictive substances including cigarettes, alcohol, and even marijuana.

There is also mounting evidence of the negative consequences of vaping, both for the user and for those who are exposed to its emissions, such as the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory difficulties, and explosion injuries.

The agency cited the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, which found that the use of electronic cigarettes among Filipino youth is on the rise.

In just four years, data showed a 110 percent surge in vape use, from 11.7 percent in 2015 to 24.6 percent in 2019.

According to a recent study conducted by the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Department of Education, electronic cigarette use begins around the age of 10 to 15 years old.

This is significant, according to the DOH, because multiple studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in executive and decision-making skills, continues to mature until about the age of 25.

Adolescents and young adults are more likely to start smoking and develop a nicotine addiction as a result of this bill.

According to a Pulse Asia survey conducted from Sept. 6 to 11, 2021, an overwhelming majority of Filipinos support strict restrictions to safeguard themselves from the dangers of using and being exposed to electronic cigarettes.

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