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Lawmakers campaign for smoke-free PH through Vape Bill

Lawmakers campaign for smoke-free PH through Vape Bill

In an attempt to curb the effects of tobacco use in the country, legislators have passed House Bill No. 9007 and Senate Bill No. 2239, more commonly known as the “Vape Bill.”

The bill allows tobacco smokers to have healthier alternatives such as vaporized nicotine. Also, it would regulate the use of vapes and tobacco products to reduce the smoking rate in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to sign the bill for it to pass into law.

House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta stated that smokers will now have an option to consume less harmful products but still with proper regulations of the government, as seen in other progressive countries.

Vape Bill
Image: House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta

“This is our gift, our legacy to the Filipino people,” he said.

Furthermore, Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Estrellita Suansing shared her vision for the country once the bill becomes a law.

“Years from now when our country is rid of the smoking menace, we will look back at this Congress for starting the journey towards a smoke-free Philippines,” she said.

Suansing is also a long-time health advocate.

Vapes are not nicotine-free

However, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano urged Duterte to veto the proposed vape bill. He said that it would further lead to addiction and grave health problems.

“We all know that nicotine is an addictive substance. And yet with this bill, we are allowing vaping devices to deliver higher amounts of nicotine than cigarettes and other tobacco products can provide,” Cayetano stated.

Medical groups also opposed the proposed bill, saying that it will expose the youth to actions associated to smoking. The bill includes the lowering of the age of persons allowed to consume vape from 21 to 18.

There have been scientific studies that found e-cigarettes and vapes to be 90-95% less harmful than tobacco. However, nicotine is still present even in these alternative products.

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Provisions of the vape bill

Nevertheless, the proposed bill contains provisions that would help regulate the use of tobacco, vapes, and other smoking products. This includes prohibiting advertisements directed to minors and restricting the promotion of the use of these products by celebrities and social media influencers.

The bill also mandates manufacturers to have product standards and to pay the right taxes to the government. It also mandates the Department of Trade and Industry to implement strict protocols in the manufacturing and distribution of the products.

Malacañang assured the public that the bill will be examined thoroughly before it is sent to the President for approval.

Origins of vape

It is reported that the first commercially successful e-cigarette to be produced came from Beijing, China. After his father died of lung cancer due to heavy smoking, Hon Lik, a 52-year-old pharmacist, inventor, and also, smoker, created the device.

In 2003, Golden Dragon Holdings, the company Lik worked for, developed the product and changed its name to Ruyan, which means “like smoke.”

Lik’s invention became the prototype for modern vapes, which are now designed for convenience and with single-use properties.

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