April 21, 2024

The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its call for urgent action to protect children and prevent the uptake of e-cigarettes.

“While long-term health effects are not fully understood, it has been established that they generate toxic substances, some of which are known to cause cancer, and some that increase the risk of heart and lung disorders,” Dr. Florante Trinidad of WHO Philippines reiterated during the recent smoke-free research dissemination in Baguio City.

Trinidad said the use of e-cigarettes can also affect brain development and lead to learning disorders in young people. Likewise, exposure to e-cigarettes can adversely affect the development of the fetus in pregnant women, while exposure to emissions from e-cigarettes poses risks to bystanders.

He emphasized that government agencies must ensure the enforcement of regulations to prevent the uptake of e-cigarettes, especially among children and adolescents.

“The DTI, DOH, and other government agencies as well should ensure the enforcement of regulation to reduce their appeal, and their harm to the population including banning all flavors, limiting the concentration and quality of nicotine, and taxing them,” Trinidad said.

He also reiterated the WHO’s support for the Philippines especially in the Cordillera, as they endeavor to accelerate the implementation of a framework for tobacco control.

Meanwhile, lawyer Benedict Nisperos of the public health think tank HealthJustice Philippines is calling on the concerned agencies to help out especially in the implementation of laws regulating e-cigarettes.

“Why are we delaying the implementation when it is urgent? We’re knocking on the doors of our national agencies, the BIR, the DTI to help out,” Nisperos said.

Republic Act 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act lapsed into law on July 25, 2022. The DTI is mandated to have exclusive jurisdiction over any and all issues, requirements, and subject matters related to vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and their devices as well as novel tobacco products.

RA 11346, or an act increasing the excise tax on tobacco products, imposing excise tax on heated tobacco products and vapor products, and increasing the penalties for violations of provisions on articles subject to excise tax, was enacted in July 2019. – Debbie E. Gasingan