Senators held a closed-door caucus on Monday afternoon to try to set a timetable for the passage of Senate Bill 1074 or the Sin Tax Bill, and a measure regulating vapes.?
Michael Varcas
Senators reach consensus to regulate, not ban, vaping
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2019 - 12:00am

?MANILA, Philippines — Senators have agreed to pass legislation that would regulate rather than ban e-cigarettes and vapes, to provide a clear legal basis for government actions against such products.?

Senators held a closed-door caucus on Monday afternoon to try to set a timetable for the passage of Senate Bill 1074 or the Sin Tax Bill, and a measure regulating vapes.?

Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the ways and means committee, requested for the meeting as calls to prohibit vapes, as well as confusion over President Duterte’s order to ban vaping, mounted.?

“(The) decision of the caucus is to regulate and to tax vaping and e-cigarettes,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told reporters.?

Zubiri said the chamber aims to pass the measure on Dec. 4.?The Sin Tax Bill, which is now being deliberated on the floor, has
provisions to tax vapes as well as heated tobacco products (HTPs) and had been certified as urgent by Duterte.?The President’s order on vaping, however, raised questions among senators on whether or not vapes should be deleted from the bill, especially after Sen. Francis Tolentino pointed out that such products should be declared illegal in the first place, as the country has no law or regulation on such nicotine delivery devices.?Such products were already taxed under Republic Act 11346 signed last July. But the law, to be implemented in 2020, may be amended under SB 1074.?Revenues are earmarked to fund the Universal Health Care law.?Tolentino warned the senators that vapes could be tampered with to allow users to inhale methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu or order drugs.?He said 33 countries, including Australia, China, and the US, have banned or are moving to prohibit vapes due to the serious harm to the health of users. ?National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas has ordered 51 vape dealers in Metro Manila to stop selling their goods to customers.

Sinas said the vape sources were different from the 238 vape stores found in malls padlocked by his men last Sunday.

“As of last night, we ordered 51 vape sources to close shop and refrain from selling their wares. We also now have arrested 22 persons,” said Sinas.

When pressed that the city government of Pasig has designated vape smoking zones, Sinas said he would coordinate with Mayor Vico Sotto about the matter.

He poined out that the NCRPO is only implementing a ban ordered by Duterte on the use and selling of vape for being a health hazard.

As of Monday, the NCRPO conducted 675 anti-vape operations, resulting in the arrest of 22 persons and the confiscation of 61 vape paraphernalia.

Of the 449 vape stores in Metro Manila, Sinas said his men already visited 408 and told them to cease operating. - With Non Alquitran

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