Major executive departments recently lent their support to the Vape Bill which seeks to regulate the sale and use of smokeless alternatives to tobacco such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.
Former Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense (DND) supports the intent of the bill which is to “promote a healthy environment and protect citizens from any potential harm caused by tobacco use and to ensure that the sale to minors of and illicit trade in VNNP (vaporized nicotine and nicotine-free products) and their devices are effectively prevented.”
Lorenzana submitted DND’s position in response to Malacañang Palace’s request for comments and recommendations on Consolidated Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239.
The Office of the Executive Secretary has solicited input on the bill which has been ratified by the Senate and House of Representatives.
The bill seeks to regulate “the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and communication of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products and novel tobacco products.”
Other agencies that have supported the enactment of the Vape Bill are the Department of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Labor and Employment DOLE) .
The DILG said it supports passing the bill because it will regulate the importation, distribution, manufacture, packaging, sale and use of vaporized nicotine and nicotine-free products.
He added that the measure reinforces Republic Act 11467 and RA 11346 because it provides penalties that are absent from both measures.
“The bill also adds to existing prohibitions found in RA 11467, such as the ban on the use of flavor descriptors that appeal to minors in packaging. This is in addition to the ban on flavors found in said law,” he said.
“Regulating vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products will benefit our economy, especially tobacco-dependent farmers and workers, and guide local government units on the right course of action in relation to these vaporized products,” he added. added.
The DTI stated that “vaping products can be used as an alternative or a useful way to switch from the consumption of conventional tobacco products to less harmful tobacco products”.
Smoking prevalence studies show that 16.6 million adults, or 23.8% of the Filipino population, are tobacco users.
“Maintaining its stance of tobacco product regulation, rather than outright prohibition, to prevent the proliferation of illicit trade; and aligned with its consumer protection mandate and policy to balance the interests of all parties stakeholders, the DTI believes that vaping products can be used as an alternative or useful way to switch from the consumption of conventional tobacco products to less harmful tobacco products,” the ministry said.
“The regulation of vaping products, which are new consumer products, is consistent with DTI’s broad mandates and ability to protect consumers and establish product standards under Republic Act No. 7394 or of the Consumer Law of the Philippines and RA 4109 or the Philippine Standards Act,” he added.
Former Secretary of Labor Silvestre Bello 3rd meanwhile said the DOLE supports passage of the enshrined bill which seeks to provide meaningful income, jobs and livelihoods to tobacco growers, workers and communities. their dependents; increase income; regulate vapor products; and offer an alternative and a transition for smokers to reduce or quit smoking.
“Growing, manufacturing and selling tobacco are important economic activities that sustain 2.7 million Filipinos, including tobacco growers, workers and their dependents. This reality must be taken into account in the treatment and regulation of this new industry,” he noted.
The North Luzon PhilTobacco Growers Association, Inc., representing more than 50,000 tobacco growers, called on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to sign the bill to help support them.
“Sa kalaunan and sa kasama ang akmang supported, naniniwala kami na magbibigay din ito ng pagkakataon upang kaming mga magsasaka bahagi ng makabagong mga produktong ito na ang pangunahing sangkap is nagmumula pa din sa tabako
(In the long term and with strong support, we believe this will give us the opportunity to get involved in this new product whose main ingredient still comes from tobacco),” the farmers said in their letter sent to Malacañang.