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Regulation of sale, use of e-cigarettes pushed in House

E-cigarettes are promoted to be healthy alternative for cigarette. Recent studies show, however, they are not necessarily safe alternatives to cigarette smoking. Jonny Williams/CC BY-NC  

MANILA, Philippines — Congressmen have filed a bill regulating the sale and use of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), more commonly known as e-cigarette.

Authored by Representatives Francisco Ashley Acedillo and Gary Alejano of MAGDALO Partylist, House Bill 5590 seeks to  amend Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, particularly Section 2, Section 4 (s), Section 7, Section 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (a), 15 (d), Section 22 and 23, of Republic Act 9211 by including the phrase "and other nicotine-containing" products.

The act also revises Section 3 by including the phrase "roll-your own" tobacco, and novel tobacco products and empowering the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution, promotion and use of ENDS.

The authors urge the Congress to pass the law regulating the use of e-cigarette while the research and studies are currently being conducted on the controversial smoking vehicle.

Acedillo cited that e-cigarettes have been promoted as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes and help a smoke-dependent individual to quit smoking. However, a study by researchers from John Hopkins University in Maryland, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Louisiana State University showed otherwise.

The researchers claim the e-cigarette exposure causes airway inflammation, oxidative stress, and impaired anti-bacterial and anti-viral responses that include increased bacterial burden and viral titers in the lungs, impaired phagocytosis (removal of bacteria by immune cells), and increased virus-induced morbidity and mortality.

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"Without formal studies on its real health effects on the user, a need for government to regulate its sale and promotion arise," Acedillo said.

He said the passage of Republic Act 9211 will as a standard in implementing a stricter tobacco control scheme in the country.

"The stricter implementation on tobacco control plus the imposition of higher taxes in tobacco products paved the way for electronic cigarettes to gain popularity especially among the youth," Acedillo added.

E-cigarettes or ENDS are devices commonly made of plastic or metal that heats a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge while creating a tiny light on the tip that glows like a real cigarette and produces a vapor that stimulates the act of smoking.

All e-cigarettes are made of the same basic components such as battery, heating element, and cartridge that is usually filled with a combination of nicotine, flavoring, and a liquid such as glycerin or propylene glycol.

Read up on other proposed bill in the House of Representatives, visit our Bill Tracker.

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