In this photo taken November 20, a vape shop owner takes a puff in Manila. President Duterte ordered a ban on the importation of e-cigarettes and similar products and the arrest of those using them in public.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
Guevarra: Written order banning 'all forms of vaping' may be out soon
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 21, 2019 - 6:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — All types of vaping may soon be prohibited under the new executive order that the government will issue, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said that vaping is covered by Executive Order No. 26 “if the same uses any tobacco derivative.”

The Justice secretary added: “The [Office of the President], I understand, is about to issue a new EO to cover all types of vaping.”

READ: No written orders yet, but PNP ready to 'book' vape users

In 2017, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 26 banning smoking in enclosed public places and in public conveyances.

The EO defined smoking as "being in possession or control of a lit tobacco product," which is a product “entirely or partly made of tobacco leaf as raw material which are manufactured to be used for smoking, sucking, chewing or snuffing such as but not limited to cigarette, cigar, pipe, shisha/hookah and chew tobacco.”

E-cigarettes use a liquid that often, but not always, contain nicotine.

Duterte on Wednesday night said that his order to arrest those using vapes is based on a law “which says that you cannot distribute toxic materials in public places.”

It is unclear which law Duterte meant, but the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 "to regulate, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment."

It covers hazardous substances that pose "short-term acute hazards, such as acute toxicity by ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption, corrosivity or other skin or eye contact hazard or the risk of fire or explosion" as well as long-term risks.

The president also said that one should only vape at home, but Guevarra explained that Duterte may have meant that vaping should only be done in "non-public places."

EO26 allows smoking in Designated Smoking Areas.

'Never mind, it will come'

The chief executive admitted that there is no executive order yet that contains his latest order. “Never mind, it will come,” he said.

Despite the lack of the new EO that would supposedly ban vaping, police started the arrest of vape users Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP’s officer-in-charge, was quick to order all police units “to enforce the ban on use of vapes, ensure that all violators will be arrested and properly recorded in the police blotters.”

Gamboa clarified that those arrested will not face jail time, but would be added to a police blotter and would have their items confiscated.

This is not the first time that the police acted on Duterte’s verbal order, despite a lack of written memorandum.

While questions on the legal basis of the supposed rounding up of vapers hound Duterte’s order,  Integrated Bar of the Philippines national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said that those who feel aggrieved may run to our courts.

He told CNN Philippines in a phone patch interview: "The judiciary will interpret if the law is applicable or not. If the executive [branch] already made its position, according to the executive, they have a basis, anyone who does not agree with that executive action has the right to go to the courts."

Meanwhile Guevarra, asked earlier if arrests of vapers based on Duterte's verbal order is deemed legal, told Philstar.com: "Let's cross the bridge when we get there."

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