The Philippine Department of Health strongly opposes the Senate’s approval of the e-cigarette regulatory bill, which will allow the purchase and use of e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes to be reduced from 21 to 18. The aforementioned Senate Bill No. 2239 was approved last week.
“The bill is retrogressive and contains provisions that contradict public health goals and international standards. It also undermines the country’s progress in tobacco and control,” the health department said in a statement on Sunday.
The Ministry of Health described the bill itself as “blatant disregard for public health.” It added that relaxing the age limit will put young Filipinos at risk because it will make e-cigarette products more accessible, and because it has a variety of flavors, it will be more attractive to young people.
A total of 48 medical groups also opposed the recently approved bill, which aims to further expand Filipinos’ access to vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products.
These groups urge President Rodrigo Duterte to completely reject the controversial bill. The country’s main health agency emphasized that due to its toxic substances and effects, e-cigarette products should be regulated as health products. It also pointed out that e-cigarette oil and its emissions contain chemicals, such as nicotine, propylene glycol, carbonyl compounds and carbon monoxide, which are either addictive, toxic, or carcinogenic.
Several doctors reiterated that e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products are still as harmful as traditional cigarettes.
At least 36 medical groups led by the Philippine Medical Association issued a letter to Duterte, stating that the bill was “disguised as a deregulation of regulation.” They also questioned why supervisory power was transferred from the Food and Drug Administration to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
They reiterated that the president needs to abide by his campaign promises to combat drug abuse and addiction.
“Once passed, the bill will remove the regulation of the nicotine industry and will directly violate your commitment… Therefore, we again request that you completely reject SB 2239,” the letter read.