VARIOUS groups in the Philippines continue to advocate for smokeless alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products as other Southeast Asian countries have begun to push for regulation of smokeless alternatives to reduce the harm of smoking.
The Regulation of Vaporized Nicotine Products Bill or Vaping Bill passed by Congress awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Thailand is in the process of passing a law that will lift the ban on vaping to provide adult smokers with smoke-free alternatives considered less harmful than cigarettes. A bill to legalize e-cigarettes has been filed with a subcommittee of Thailand’s parliament. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Thailand’s Minister for Digital Economy and Society, expressed support for the passage of the bill.
The president of the Union of Nicotine Users of the Philippines, Anton Israel, said providing alternatives to more people would reduce the harmful effects of smoking. He added that more and more countries are beginning to realize that the best way to reduce the harms of smoking is to provide consumers with better choices such as e-cigarettes and HTPs.
“Asian consumers deserve the same access to smokeless cigarettes as American and European consumers. We hope more Southeast Asian countries will take the more pragmatic and science-based approach to reducing the harms of smoking,” said Israel.
Philippine representative of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, Clarisse Virgino, said more Southeast Asian countries should look to the Philippines’ experience to “welcome tobacco harm reduction is the most effective public health strategy to address the tobacco problem”.
Similarly, Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association President Joey Dulay backed passage of the vaping bill, saying regulating innovative alternative products will empower the vaping industry. meet government standards, thus avoiding an underground market.
“We hope Thailand and other Asean countries will pass their own version of the Vape Bill which has been overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers in the Philippines. administration are properly regulated,” he said.
The Vape Bill has been ratified by the Philippine Congress, but the Department of Health has joined in vetoing the measure, saying vape products are harmful and not without risk.