The House of Representatives on Wednesday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on a bill that would regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and communication of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, as well as novel tobacco products.
During the plenary session, the chamber approved the final version that reconciles the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239.
House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said the measure aims to offer an alternative for Filipinos who want to quit smoking.
With the enactment of the bill into law, posts, messages, or images by manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers that encourage the purchase and use of vape products would be prohibited.
The bill mandates the Department of Health (DOH) to prescribe guidelines on the implementation of smoking and vaping restriction awareness campaigns.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), meanwhile, would consult with the Food and Drug Administration in setting technical standards for the safety, consistency, and quality of vape products.
Manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sellers would then be given an 18-month transitory period from the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations to comply with the requirements of the measure.
This would include the registration of the vape products with the DTI.
The bill provides protection to minors from accessing vape products by setting the minimum allowable age for the purchase, sale, and use of such products to 18 years old.
The DOH earlier expressed strong opposition to the bill, as it is retrogressive and contains several provisions that contradict public health goals and international standards and undermines the country’s progress in tobacco control, according to a DOH news release on Sunday.
It said lowering the age of access to vapor products from 21 to 18 years old, allowing flavorings, and permitting advertising and sponsorship strategies would expose the youth to harmful and addictive substances by making vapor products enticing and easily accessible.
The DOH maintains that vape products are harmful and not risk-free and should be regulated as health products due to their toxic substances and effects.
Vape liquids and its emission contain chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol, carbonyls, and carbon monoxide that are either addictive, toxic or can cause cancer.