Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said he will urge President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order that will regulate manufacturing, distribution, sale, and use of e-cigarettes, following health department confirmation of the first vaping-related illness in the country.
“Kailangang magkaroon ng mas mahigpit na regulasyon ang ating otoridad na may kaugnayan sa produksyon, distribusyon at paggamit ng lahat ng uri ng e-cigarettes,” Go, chair of the Senate health committee, said.
“We oppose the unregulated use of these products and how it is easily accessed by minors,” he said.
“And anyone admitted for smoking-related illnesses, particularly those with limited financial capacity, also puts pressure on government resources to be spent for their health and wellness,” Go added.
Moreover, he mentioned the warning of the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III about the dangers of inhaling liquid nicotine.
“Smoking, in all forms and manner, is a public health issue and it adversely affects almost everyone around a smoker, even those who do not smoke at all,” the neophyte senator said.
DOH order petitioned to stop
The DOH had already ordered regulation of e-cigarettes, requiring every establishment involved in manufacture, distribution, importation, exportation, and sale and transfer of “electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery system” to secure a license to operate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, Pasig City court temporarily stopped the enforcement of the order after a group of e-cigarette consumers petitioned for it.
Meanwhile, Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Bernadette Herrera said she will file a bill at the House of Representatives that will formally regulate the use of e-cigarettes.
Under this bill, selling of vapes to minors will be banned, as well as all flavors besides menthol and tobacco.
“The fruity and other flavors are there to deceive buyers, especially the young, into liking vaping because of the flavors,” she said.
Herrera also added that her bill will seek to set “standards and regulations on product design, operation, ingredients, emissions, advertising, promotions, sponsorships, packaging, and labeling” of e-cigarettes or vape products.
First vaping-related case in PH
On Friday, November 15, Duque confirmed the country’s first patient to suffer vaping injury. The victim was 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas, who had been using vaping regularly for six months.
Duque said the girl was not asthmatic but she began using both e-cigarettes and traditional ones until October 21, when she was hospitalized due to “sudden onset of difficulty of breathing.”
A couple of weeks before she got hospitalized, the girl even took cough medicine, thinking it was just dry cough, but it was of no use.
According to the DOH, the girl met the for vaping injury provided which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has specified.
So far, the CDC has recorded more than 2,000 cases of lung injuries and over 40 deaths related to e-cigarettes and vaping.