Senate vaping bill deceptively portrayed

SENATE Bill (SB) 2239 is described in a virtuous manner, suggesting that it would introduce regulations protecting young people and reducing dependence on cigarettes. But this portrayal is a ruse because the bill actually proposes to relax the regulations on vaping, e-cigarettes and similar products. We urge senators to vote against this measure, also known as the “Vaporized Nicotine Products Control Act”.

Earlier this year, the House passed a counterpart law, Bill 9007, or the “Non-combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act”. Then, last month, senators approved his version for deliberation in plenary. Bills appear to be making their way to Congress faster than the coronavirus.

In statements, supporters of SB 2239 claim that it will ban minors, especially those under the age of 18, from purchasing vapers and similar products. What the press releases omit is that there is an existing law, Executive Order (EO) 106 Series of 2020, which sets the minimum age at 21.

This EO regulates the manufacture, distribution, marketing and sale of unregistered and / or falsified electronic nicotine / non-nicotine delivery systems, heated tobacco products and other novel tobacco products. These are essentially the same products that the Senate and House bills hope to regulate. In addition, EO 106 is almost identical to HB 9007, except for the provisions that make these categories of products of sin more accessible to younger people.

In a seemingly misleading presentation, supporters of the vaping bills announced that the minimum age would be equivalent to the requirement for conventional cigarettes. The bills omit that it lowers the minimum age for purchasing these products.

Worse yet, the House and Senate versions of the vaping bill would allow these new sin products to be sold online. This feature is another exemption from OE 106, which places restrictions and guidelines only on over-the-counter sales.

Online sales worry health advocates because it would make vapes and similar products more accessible to minors. Both Senate and House bills require proof of age when purchasing vapes and similar products, but this is virtually impossible to enforce online. Note that all kinds of prohibited products, including illicit drugs, can now be purchased online.

Equally harmful

Another misleading claim in the campaign to pass the mentioned bills is that vapers and new tobacco products are a healthier alternative to regular smoking. Proponents say they hope to wean people off their addiction to conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products, which are said to be more deadly.

As we have said before in this space, medical experts here and abroad dispute these claims. In another editorial, we cited the American Heart Association which found that people were likely to continue to smoke conventional tobacco products, vape, and use e-cigarettes and other similar products.

Some studies have also found that the new products are more harmful than regular cigarettes. Vapes and similar products provide higher concentrations of nicotine and other addictive compounds compared to conventional tobacco products.

At a Senate hearing last month, some 60 groups spoke out against SB 2239. Dr Maria Encarnita Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, told senators the House version was passed without recommendations. of the health sector.

On its Facebook page, the group of doctors said this about SB 2239: “The medical community is questioning the provisions included in the bill and highlighting how it further increases opportunities for the tobacco and vaping industry. to expand its market, a movement that is regressive. and anti-health. “

Dr Benito Atienza, president of the Philippine Medical Association, said if SB 2239 is approved, vapes and other similar products will be a gateway to drug addiction, especially for young people.

Again, the regulations already exist. Yet lawmakers ignore this fact. Please stop fooling the public.

As we said about the House bill, the Senate should vote against SB 2239 if it cannot be as harsh or harsher than the existing law on vapes, e-cigarettes and products. similar. Unfortunately, the House bill passed.

If the Senate passes its bill and if it gets through the legislative process, the president should veto it.

About Margaret Shaw

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