June 17, 2024
VAPE SHOP INSPECTION — The city government through the Smoke-Free Baguio task force, Department of Trade and Industry, and Bureau of Internal Revenue conducted a surprise inspection on Feb. 15 wherein the group seized over P700,000 worth of vape juice and accessories from shops at Mabini St. and Kisad Road. — Neil Clark Ongchangco

A surprise inspection by the city government through the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue on Feb. 15 yielded over P700,000 worth of vape juice and accessories seized from two vape shops located at Mabini St. and Kisad Road.
“Both shops were confirmed to have no business permits by the Permits and Licensing Division while most e-cigarette products sold were non-compliant with the guidelines of the BIR, DTI and the Food and Drug Agency, making the products dangerous to health apart from being illegal,” the task force headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
Daryll Longid, head enforcer of the Public Order and Safety Division which along with the Baguio City Police Office serves as the operations arm of the task force, said the stores were caught selling products that do not contain graphic health warnings and that are in unauthorized forms and flavors.
“Their products come in many flavors and this is contrary to the law that allows only two flavors – tobacco and menthol. They have candy, chocolate, fruit and other flavors that appeal to the younger generation,” Longid said.
The task force said in another inspection conducted last Feb. 7, they seized P1 million worth of e-cigarette products and paraphernalia were seized based on similar violations.
“These inspections were a joint effort to curb the illegal sale and distribution of e-cigarette products and the increasing prevalence of vape use among residents,” the task force said.
Dr. Donnabel Panes, medical officer and tobacco control coordinator of the City Health Services Office, said the operations are done as part of the task force’s commitment to “uphold the law and save our children from getting addicted to this new form of tobacco products.”
Panes expressed alarm that a lot of children and adults now get enticed and hooked due to the e-cigarette’s colors, forms and flavors.
A vendor told the task force that a lot of students, some in their uniforms, enter the vape shops, especially at around 4 p.m.
The task force said Dr. Madeleine Valera, senior technical adviser of the International Union Against Lung Disease, said “there are already more than 2,000 chemicals identified in e-cigarette products and more are being identified every week.”
Valera warned e-cigarette is similar to the traditional cigarette containing thousands of chemicals.
The operations are part of the continued implementation of Ordinance 34, s. 2017 or the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance, which also regulates the use and sale of electronic nicotine delivery products including vape products.
It is also anchored on Republic Act 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulations Act, RA 11467 which mandates regulation of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration and FDA Advisory 2022-1069 which bans the distribution, importation, manufacturing, sale, offer for sale and online retail of flavored liquid refill solutions other than tobacco and menthol flavor for vapor products starting May 25, 2029. – Aileen P. Refuerzo and Grian Villanueva