Tobacco industry supports plan to ban disposable vapes

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Tobacco industry supports plan to ban disposable vapes
Candon Mayor Eric Singson said he is open to the proposal of Finance Secretary Ralph Recto to ban disposable vapes, also known as e-cigarettes.
STAR / File

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur, Philippines — The tobacco industry has expressed its willingness to support a proposal of the Department of Finance to ban disposable vapes, especially if proven that these are hazardous not just to health, but to the environment as well.

Candon Mayor Eric Singson said he is open to the proposal of Finance Secretary Ralph Recto to ban disposable vapes, also known as e-cigarettes.

Several countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium have imposed a ban due to the growing incidence of illicit vapes.

“If that is the trend, then maybe there is a very good reason for banning it. If it’s something of a health concern to the users, especially the minors, then I’m open to it,” Singson told The STAR in an interview in this tobacco-producing province in Northern Luzon.

“If it is really hazardous to a person’s health, then it’s OK with me, we will subscribe to regulation, just like the Tobacco Regulation Act,” Singson said.

Having been a long-time legislator, the brother of former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson said the proposal would still undergo a process.

“I think (the national government) will have to study it first. And they have to pass a law because this is new,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has indicated support for the proposal, just like some senators, but the Department of Trade and Industry has yet to take a stand.The DTI is the chief enforcer of Republic Act 11900 or the Vape Law.

Both the Department of Agriculture and National Tobacco Administration have yet to issue a categorical statement on the proposal.

In Asia, disposable vapes are already banned in Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and to some extent in Japan.

Recto, also a former senator and Batangas congressman, proposed the ban due to the alarming rise in the use of vapes among the youth and its impact on the environment, with illicit vapes further eroding tax revenues of the national government.

Among the risks of vaping are lung injuries and neurological symptoms, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The risks also include “fires and explosions” from electronic hazardous waste.

Vapes are handheld battery-powered electronic devices with heated metal coils that vaporize a liquid containing nicotine (an addictive stimulant found in tobacco) or cannabis products, known as e-liquid.

Disposable Vapes, described as an “electronic waste,” are single-use products powered by the same rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and cellular android phones.

The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation reported that vape waste is a “growing environmental threat,” where, if based on sales estimates, lining up disposable vapes sold in a year would stretch it for 7,000 miles – long enough to span the continental US twice.

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