Doctors hail final version of vaping bill, say it will save smokers’ lives

Dr. Romeo Luna Jr., president of the San Juan Medical Center Staff Association

MANILA, Philippines — Medical experts have hailed the final version of the vaping bill, saying it will strictly regulate e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, protect young people and save smokers’ lives.

This follows the release last week of details of the final version of the vaping bill and its key provisions, particularly those intended to protect minors and regulate the sale, advertising and public use of vaping products. steam-based products and HTPs which are considered less harmful alternatives to fuels. cigarettes.

Dr. Romeo Luna Jr., president of the San Juan Medical Center Staff Association, said that while there are still risks associated with using these products, they are significantly lower than those of cigarettes.

“The scientific consensus of medical experts and public health regulators around the world is that vapor and heated tobacco products are less harmful than cigarettes,” said Dr. Luna, who is also a practicing surgeon at Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

“It just means that for the 16 million Filipino smokers who cannot quit, there is now a better and less harmful alternative for them,” Dr Luna said.

House Vice Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, a known administration ally, revealed in a radio interview that the World Health Organization’s scientific representative confirmed that vaping products are less harmful than cigarettes during deliberations on the vaping bill in Congress.

Dr. Dante Dator, one of the nation’s top urologists, said the vaping bill aims to stop young people from using vaping devices.

“Without the vaping bill, our worst fears of minors using vaping products will come true. There simply aren’t enough laws to strictly regulate these products,” said Dr. Dator, who is also the former executive director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.

“I strongly support the vaping bill as it contains many provisions intended to protect young people and ensure that this age group does not use vaping products,” he said.

Dr. Dator said the vaping bill contains a provision that imposes a complete ban on the sale of high nicotine vaping products, which the current law, Republic Act No. 11467, doesn’t.

“It’s as restrictive as possible. It’s obvious that this bill should pass,” he said.

The final version of the vaping bill, as approved by the bicameral Senate and House of Representatives conference committee, prohibits the sale of vaping products with a nicotine content of more than 65 mg /ml.

It also prohibits the use of flavor descriptors that appeal to minors in addition to the ban on using flavors that appeal to minors under RA 11467.

The bill also prohibits the display of vaping products alongside other products that appeal to minors in stores as well as the use of celebrities and social media influencers in advertising material.

Dr. Arleen Reyes, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Dental Federation Scientific Committee, agreed that the Vape Bill will provide strong protection for Filipino youth.

“As a doctor and someone who has treated patients with tobacco-induced dental disease for many decades now, I support the vaping bill because it provides strong protection for our young people from the use of these products while at the same time providing an opportunity for our 16 million Filipino smokers to quit and switch to a less harmful alternative,” said Dr. Reyes, who is also a past president of the Dental Association of the Philippines. .

Dr. Dator said enacting the Vape Bill will ensure young people are protected so they will not use these products.

He said the bill provides very high penalties for violators, which is important to ensure that manufacturers and sellers of the product comply with the law.

“Without the vaping bill, substandard flavored e-cigarettes and these high-nicotine vaping products will continue to thrive because there are no laws to penalize violators,” he said.

Marcoleta said, “Contrary to the fake news spread by some doctors”, the Philippines does not have a comprehensive law regulating vapor products on issues relating to manufacture, sale, advertising, packaging, use, product standards and product registration, unlike that of cigarettes. .

“Why would you oppose a bill that seeks to regulate a vice or the so-called products of sin? It is high time for the President to enact this bill so that we can force Filipinos to quit smoking for good,” he noted.

Marcoleta called on President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the Vape Bill into law to regulate vaping products to protect public health and prevent the entry of illegal products.

Most Filipinos expressed support for policies regulating less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

A recent survey by ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants, Asia’s largest independent research network, showed that 94% of Filipinos agree that the government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to these products.

/MUF

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