Public health advocates urge Congress to strictly regulate vape, e-cigarette products

Public health and tobacco control advocates on Thursday urged lawmakers to pursue pro-health regulation and protect the gains of Republic Act (RA) 11467, including respecting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s mandate in regulating vape and electronic cigarette products.

In a press forum in Quezon City, legal consultant of HealthJustice Philippines Atty. Benedict Nisperos emphasized that the FDA's power to regulate the manufacture and distribution of vapor products should be upheld.

This came after members of the technical working group created by the House Joint Committees on Trade and Industry and Health voted to reduce the role of FDA in regulation, to lower the age restriction from 21 to 18, and to allow flavors – decisions that weaken the pro-health stance introduced by RA 11467, according to public health advocates.

Dr. Riz Gonzales of the Philippine Pediatric Society said age restriction and ban on flavors are crucial provisions that will protect children from addiction to nicotine.

Meantime, the advocates welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's issuance of Executive Order no. 106, which strictly regulates the sale, manufacture, and use of e-cigarettes in public spaces.