A SENATOR has appealed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to veto a bill regulating vaping, citing that its passage will overturn stricter regulations and pose harm to the young market.
“The Vape Bill does not regulate, but actually loosens crucial safeguards and makes these products more available to younger individuals,” Senator Pia S. Cayetano said in a letter to the President dated July 20.
“Mr. President, I strongly urge you to veto the vape bill,” she said.
The reconciled version of the bill passed the 18th Congress in January and was transmitted to the office of the President on June 24, according to a June 27 statement of Ms. Cayetano.
Proponents of the bill have argued that vapes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) are effective cessation tools from cigarette smoking and note the need to regulate the industry, the senator said.
However, she called these arguments “fatally flawed because rather than to regulate, the Vape bill actually removes the protective measures already found under Republic Act No. 11467 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2020.”
She noted that under the proposed Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, regulation of vapes and HTPs will be transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“It is incomprehensible how the DTI would perform the task of determining the safety of the products that will be on the market. By its very mandate, it is the FDA that has the power and the expertise to regulate this industry,” she said.
Ms. Cayetano also pointed out that the proposed measure will lower age limits to 18 from 21 years.
She cited studies which show that the brain continues to mature until the age of 25, and early exposure to nicotine, through vapes and HTPs, could impair brain development.
More flavors are also allowed by the bill, Ms. Cayetano said, and this will likely appeal to the youth.
“I thus reiterate my urgent call and echo the appeal of more than sixty medical associations and health advocates, former DoH (Department of Health) secretaries, and concerned government agencies… to veto the Vape Bill,” she said.
“We need to listen to health experts,” she said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan