Science and Environment

Vapers hit proposed higher excise tax

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) and The Vapers PH condemned what they described as a hasty move in the House of Representatives to raise excise taxes on electronic cigarettes or vapes.

The two groups said the move seeks to set the excise tax for e-cigarettes at virtually the same rate as regular tobacco cigarettes. 

Both groups slammed the chamber for lack of consultation and for ignoring what they claimed was overwhelming scientific evidence that these products pose significantly less risk to health than cigarettes.

 “Smokers will simply continue to use cigarettes. There is no incentive for them from government to switch to a better alternative,” they said. 

The two groups issued the statement after the House of Representatives last Aug. 14 approved on 2nd reading a substituted version of House Bill No. 1026, which was originally an alcohol excise tax measure but included a tax on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. HB 1026 has since passed on third and final reading. 

PECIA and Vapers PH said no public hearing was conducted and they were not consulted.

Last month, the World Health Organization warned that e-cigarettes are harmful to health because they contain large doses of nicotine and addictive liquids, opening a door to addiction.

Vaping is suspected to have caused severe lung damage to eight youths in Wisconsin. The eight were hospitalized last June 28. 

Last year, leading US cigarette maker Altria, parent company of Philip Morris, bought a 35 percent stake in e-cigarette maker Juul.

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