Vaping allowed in designated smoking areas, says PNP

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Vaping allowed in designated smoking areas, says PNP
Photo taken November 20 shows a vape shop owner takes a puff in Manila. President Rodrigo 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

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police said Friday that smoking vape is allowed in designated smoking areas.

Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, confirmed this in a message to Philstar.com.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night ordered a ban on vape, and said the police to arrest those using vape despite an apparent lack of executive order or law supporting it.

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

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

In a speech Thursday night, Duterte reiterated his order and warned: “I told the police, arrest them in if it’s public.”

“That has nicotine, like cigarettes. Then it’s not allowed,” Duterte added in Filipino.

Legal basis

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday that the "closest" legal basis to Duterte's ban against vape would be Executive Order 26 “if the same uses any tobacco derivative.”

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

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.”

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.”

RELATED: Up to courts if vaper arrests based on verbal orders legal — IBP

It is unclear which law Duterte meant, but the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 states "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.

Guevarra, however, assured that the Palace will soon issue an EO that will cover a ban on "all forms of vaping."

The PNP has earlier said that arrested vape users will not face jail time, but would be added to police blotter and have their items confiscated.

Banac also said that the PNP headquarters have yet to receive any reports of arrest of vapers.

“We’re still monitoring,” he said in Filipino.


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