PNP conducts 2,878 anti-vape 'operations' after Duterte's spoken order

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
PNP conducts 2,878 anti-vape 'operations' after Duterte's spoken order
Police Brig. Gen. Banac said that the highest number of violations was recorded in Central Visayas, where 195 were arrested in 280 operations.
The Freeman / Clydyl L. Avila, file

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippine National Police has apprehended 243 people for vaping in public since President Rodrigo Duterte banned e-cigarettes by decree.

In a press conference Monday, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said that those arrested in the 2,878 operations nationwide were released immediately after they were recorded in the police blotter.

The police also confiscated 318 pieces of vape gadgets and 666 pieces of vape juices.

Banac also said that the highest number of violations was recorded in Central Visayas, where 195 were arrested in 280 operations.

Vaping is allowed in Designated Smoking Areas.

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

Vaping in public subject to warrantless arrest

The Palace has yet to release an executive order that specifically prohibits vaping and that would indicate penalties that violators may face, but Banac said that Executive Order 26—the ban on smoking in public except in DSAs—provides the basis on the ban of vapes.

The PNP spokesperson noted that EO 26 “leans on both Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act and RA 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act.”

Duterte claimed last Friday that he does not need to issue an EO on the vape ban.

"There is already a law about nicotine. If you use vaping in public there is nicotine. And so without the other chemical combustion there, you are already violating the law in vaping because it contains nicotine," he said.

Most but not all vape liquids, or juices, contain nicotine.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and the police have made reference to an executive order that would be issued in the future.

Banac said that Section 24 of the Clean Air Act defines pollution in smoking, while Presidential Decree 984 defines pollution as harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health.

He said: “70-75% of vape ingredients are nicotine-based. It comes within the purview of RA 9211, as tobacco product and its derivatives.”

Banac asserted: “Vaping in public is subject to warrantless arrest or apprehension since the legal purpose is to bring the offender to the police station for blotter and recording.”

The PNP spokesperson said that those arrested cooperated. He added that they already told vape store owners on the use of vapes and asked them to remind their customers of the ban.

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

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