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Health Advocates lauds Duterte ban on importation and use of vape

24 Nov 2019

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Philippines President Roberto Del Rosario lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for his swift action to ban the use and importation of vape in response to the first confirmed case of EVALI in the country.

 

“We thank President Duterte for considering the ban of vape. Vaping is a health risk and there have been many reported deaths and illnesses caused by vaping. We are hoping that with the ban on vape we can curb the numbers of vaping related-illnesses and we are looking forward for an Executive Order to be released soon,” said Del Rosario. 

 

ASH Philippines Executive Director and National Secretary of Philippine College of Physicians Dr. Maria Encarnita B. Limpin likewise expressed thanks to the President. 

 

“We are glad that the president has heard us and understands the dangers vaping poses to the people’s health. Many fall victims to the misleading concept that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking but now it is clear that vaping is not safe, it is dangerous, and it can kill,” said Limpin.

 

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared late Tuesday that he will ban the use and importation of vape and has also ordered law enforcers to arrest anyone vaping in public stating that it “contaminated people” and it is “dangerous.”

 

“It is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect the public health and public interest,” ABS-CBN News reported late Tuesday citing President Duterte.

 

This is after the Department of Health has confirmed the country’s first case of Evali on November 15 after a 16-year-old girl from Visayas who had been using e-cigarettes for 6 months while also smoking cigarettes reported severe shortness of breath and was eventually admitted to intensive care unit. 

 

According to Duterte an executive order (EO) will follow but that it is not needed as he had the “urgent power” to order vapes banned. 

 

On house proposal to remove vape in sin tax measure..

 

With regards to the banning of vape use and importation as ordered by the president, House Committee on Ways and Means chair Joey Sarte Salceda stated that the house will remove from its proposal the additional taxes on vaping products.

 

The House has already approved on third and final reading House Bill 1026, which seeks to increase taxes on alcohol as well as e-cigarette and vaping products.

 

According to Salceda, a tax policy will no longer be needed to control the negative effects of vaping on health, thus it’ll be a health issue and no longer a tax issue. 

 

Meanwhile, Limpin is urging the house to reconsider the removal of additional taxes on vape from HB 1026 and instead wait for the EO from the president. According to Limpin, taxation is an important measure in curbing the use of sin products. 

 

“The ban as announced by the president which covers the use of vape in public places is another measure to decrease the prevalence of vape users. We should not create an opportunity to make vaping affordable to the youth by removing additional taxes on e-cigarettes and other heated tobacco products,” said Limpin.

 

“Now is not the time to sit back and be comfortable just because the president has imposed a ban on vape, we should instead be vigilant in protecting the public, especially the youth, from the detrimental effects of e-cigarette and nicotine products,” added Limpin.

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