A lawmaker has raised concern over the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in the country particularly the possible danger it might bring to the health of users including minors who could freely purchase the device even in the sidewalks.
E-cigs or electronic vaping device has gained popularity after cigarette smokers started using following the enactment of the sin tax law that imposes higher taxes on cigarette products leading to the increase on the prices of locally sold cigarettes.
The battery powered vaping device, which was introduced to curb addiction to cigarettes or other tobacco products, has attracted many smokers because apart from having to choose the flavor they want, they can also use the device anywhere even at the designated non-smoking areas.
According to Sen. Lito Lapid, e-cigarettes are not regulated in the same manner as tobacco products because they don’t contain tobacco—thus falling outside the ambit of the Tobacco Regulation Act.
He added that there have been no clear studies yet as to the effects of inhaling pure nicotine to the health of the users and those exposed to second hand vapor.
To be able to protect the public especially the minors who can easily purchase the device anywhere, Lapid has filed a measure that seeks to regulate the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the country imposing penalties to those that would violate it,
Lapid in filing senate bill 2011 or the e-cigarette regulation act of 2013, wants to prohibit the sale and use of the device to individuals below 18-years-old.
The proposed measure also prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes and similar devices within 100-meters from any perimeter point of a school, public playgrounds and other areas frequented by minors.
With regards to advertising and promotion of the product Lapid wants to impose regulations similar to tobacco products like not using celebrities, not portray or depict actual use of the product, not contain cartoon characters or depict persons who appear to be minors and other ads restrictions.
Such regulations will be observed in print, broadcast and outdoor advertising.
E-cigarette companies are also prohibited from sponsoring sports, concerts, cultural events as well as individual performers.
A fine ranging from P100,000 to P400,000 and imprisonment will be imposed against violators.
Lapid noted that despite the outmost care by retailers in the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, there are not clear and defined regulations imposing penalties for the commission of such sales or the gearing of advertisement or product packaging towards the sale to minors. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA