Philippine E-cigarette Regulatory Policy Difficult To Give Birth

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is known for his vacillation in the formulation of some policy bills. Perhaps the result that was just finalized one second, there will be a 180-degree change in the next second. Just when the outside world agreed that the Philippines would implement formal regulation of e-cigarettes(herbal heatsticks manufacturer), the Philippine Minister of Health thought that Duterte might not sign this time, because the proposal has been passed for 4 months, but it has not yet been implemented to Duterte’s desk.


The once hotly debated Philippine bill SB 2239 aims to use internationally recognized standards to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of e-cigarettes(vaping) and heated tobacco products (HTP) to protect citizens from illegal channels and the hazards of substandard products.


Dr. Romeo Luna Jr., a practicing surgeon at Cardinal Santos Medical Center and president of the San Juan Medical Center Staff Association, emphasized the relative safety of vaping products: “The scientific consensus among medical experts and public health regulators around the world is that vaping And heated tobacco products(tabak heatsticks) are less harmful than cigarettes. And that’s for the 16 million Filipino smokers who couldn’t quit, now they’ll have access to better, less harmful alternatives.”


Health Secretary Francisco Duque, however, did not support the bill, while also believing that President Rodrigo Duterte would not sign it: “I’m worried about this vaping bill, the ultimate goal is to make sure it doesn’t get used by Enacted into law, I’ve been in communication with the Office of the President, and at least until now, the President hasn’t signed it.”


Duke argues that these products do not help smokers quit smoking and reduce harm, but instead can actually lead to addictions similar to alcohol and marijuana. To promote e-cigarettes for commercial gain to help quit smoking is selfish and does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. “


And a survey by ACORN Marketing and Research Consultants, commissioned by consumer advocacy group Vapers PH, confirmed widespread support for tobacco harm reduction in the Philippines. “Most people have a positive view, would consider switching to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and want more access to accurate information about these products. The vast majority of smokers said they would support it, with a slight support for safer use nicotine replacements, such as e-cigarettes, to help them quit smoking.”


And the bill, signed by Congress four months ago and awaiting President Duterte’s signature, and with overwhelming public support, is said to have yet to reach the president’s desk.