Ban on e-cigarettes valid use of presidential power: DOJ

MANILA A definitive order is being prepared to clarify points raised by President Rodrigo Duterte's order against the use of e-cigarettes, popularly known as vaping, even as the present ban on smoking in public spaces sufficiently covers the directive, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

"Vaping is covered by the existing ban on public smoking if the same use any tobacco derivative. The OP (Office of the President), I understand, is about to cover all types of vaping. The closest thing that I can think of is the president's subsisting executive order prohibiting smoking in public spaces," Guevarra told reporters.

By escaping being categorized as an actual tobacco product abroad, e-cigarettes have managed to elude a standing ban against the use and sale of tobacco products to minors raising concerns about the documented impact on users.

On Tuesday night, Duterte ordered the ban on the use and importation of e-cigarettes as he acknowledged that the vapes are not good for humans.

The President said he would soon sign an executive order (EO) that would formalize his directive to stop the use of vaping devices nationwide.

In 2017, Duterte signed EO 26, which provides for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.

Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas who has been using e-cigarettes for six months is allegedly suffering from electronic cigarettes or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI).

Data from the DOH showed there are around 1 million Filipinos who are using e-cigarettes.

In September, Juul Labs, the largest of the e-cigarette makers in the United States, backed down from its claim its product is an "anti-smoking aid", which is " better" than actual cigarettes in the United States after the Centers for Disease Control, among other American agencies, said it received reports of multiple deaths and hundreds of possible cases of e-cigarette-related lung illnesses.

Aside from Juul's concerns, third party e-cigarette makers have also been plagued with reports of spontaneous combustion while in users' bags and pockets particularly those involving "manual" vaping machines where the switch to heat a vaping "liquid" is controlled by the user itself.

Subsequent designs use an electronics-based mechanism to prevent the e-cigarette from overheating. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency