Since President Rodrigo Duterte declared a vaping ban in the entire country, hundreds of users and a number of shops have been cracked down by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said 234 users have already been caught by the authorities. Despite this, they were not able to file charges against the violators, so they were immediately freed after their cases were recorded in the police blotter.
According to Banac, the Central Visayas police caught the most number of vape users in 280 operations with 195 individuals.
Meanwhile, in Metro Manila, at least 10 persons were nabbed for vaping in public areas.
He said the apprehensions were based on various laws including Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act, RA 9211 or known as the Tobacco Regulation Act, as well as the Executive Order No. 26, a law which bans smoking in public places.
“Because 70 percent to 75 percent of vape ingredients are nicotine-based, it is within the purview of RA 9211,” Banac said during a media briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City, yesterday.
Moreover, he advised the vapers to avoid using them in public places so they could also refrain from being repeatedly dragged into police stations.
On the other hand, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said at least 72 vape stores in Metro Manila were forced to close as they conducted intensified operations this weekend.
Sinas added that as of 6pm Sunday, five police districts held 235 operations and visited 54 vape stores in the metro.
With 101 total operations, Quezon City Police District (QCOD) came first on the list, followed by the Southern Police District (SPD) with 67.
Also, the Northern Police District held their operations with 46 in total, while Eastern Police District (EPD) conducted 17, Manila Police District (MPD), 4.
Furthermore, Sinas reported that the police also caught 10 vape users in Sta. Cruz and Malate, Manila and in Makati City, although they were released right away after the devices were confiscated.
The police official, however, assured that all confiscated vapes shall be accounted for and disposed off correctly.
In the meantime, the only areas with existing vaping ordinances are Manila and Taguig City.