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November 17th, 2016:

Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Use of Electronic Vapor Products and Cigarettes

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Belgium: A new Royal Decree to regulate Ecigs

The regulation of vaping products was paused in Belgium after the early 2016 Royal Decree was suspended last March. The Royal Decree published today in Le Moniteur definitely repeals the former and finally gives the e-cigarette its legal frame, not as disappointing as before but still more stringent than initially required by the EU.

The new Royal Decree has been published on November 17, 2016 in the official journal, Le Moniteur, and will come into force in two months, on January 17, 2017. The former Royal Decree had been published on February 15, 2016 and is repealed and replaced by the present one.

Ban on distant sales is confirmed by the Decree

The major point of this decree is the ban on distant sale of e-cigarette and e-liquids. This measure was left at the discretion of Member States by the EU, and Belgium decided to beyond TPD’s recommendations in its transposition. This strictness contrasts with the legal age (16 years old) that remains the same as for combustible cigarettes, the lowest in Europe while some American States recently raised the legal age for tobacco (including vaping) products to 21.

In the Belgian law, an e-cigarette is described as a product or a part of a product (including the cartridge or tank) that can be used to inhale nicotine vapor thanks to a mouthpiece. E-cigarettes can be disposable or refillable.

Electronic notifications must be submitted 6 months before marketing the products with a cost of € 165 per product

The provisions require a manufacturer or an importer (if the manufacturer has no headquarter in Belgium) submits a notification for any vaping product that is intended to reach the Belgian market at least 6 months before its release. The notification must be submitted electronically to the Directorate-general Animals, Plants and Foodstuffs of the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food-Chain Security and Environment (DGAPF-FPSPH-FCSE). The information contained in the submitted file is not different from what is mandated by the EU TPD .

If a product (e-cigarette or refill bottle) was already on the market before January 17, 2017, it can remain in store but a notification file must be submitted for this product before July 17, 2017.

In case of a substantial modification, a change in the name or brand of the product, any change in the volume (refill bottle, cartridge or tank) on any change that may affect the quality of the emissions, a new notification will have to be submitted.

The DGAPF-FPSPH-FCSE can ask for a complement information if the submission is judged not complete by the agency. Product information will be accessible to consumers on the internet. Sensible commercial information will remain confidential according to the EU TPD provisions.

Each year, the manufacturer or the importer will be required to report different types of information, as required by the TPD; the Royal Decree specifies that such document must be provided in english.

Provisions on nicotine e-liquids:

Refill nicotine e-liquid bottles must not exceeding 10 ml,
Nicotine e-liquids can come in either disposable e-cigarettes or cartridges,
Tanks and disposable cartridges must not exceed 2 ml,
Maximum nicotine strength is 20 mg/ml.
The provisions regarding additives, child safety requirements and nicotine delivery are the same as in the TPD but in contrast to the EU requirements, health warnings must appear in each of the three official languages (Dutch, French and German) on a distinct line.

Labelling of vaping products more stringent than for conventional tobacco cigarettes

They must specify that the product is not intended to non-smokers and young people and bear the legal information required by the TPD (toxicity, safety warnings, side effects, list of ingredients) as well as a list of ingredients in decreasing weight order, batch number,… Legal labelling must read (in the three official languages) the sentence “The nicotine contained in this product creates a strong dependence. Its use by non-smokers is not recommended“.

Any claim of a benefit compared to other types of products or in the absolute is forbidden. The product must not ressemble to another food or cosmetic product. No suggestion can be made that an e-cigarette or a refill bottle would more easily biodegradable or is better for the environment.

The provisions exclude the possibility of commercial offers like “50% off on a second product” or coupons. Finally, the Ministry of Health can lawfully add requirements regarding the presentation of legal information and their content.

A bitter pill for professionals and users

Compared to the February decree, the lower cost of notification fees is not sufficient to cool down the electric climate that the Belgian government set up in the small world of vaping.This information is not new and was released during a press conference given on June 14, 2016 by the Health Minister before vaping professionals and associations.

From an exorbitant € 4,000 fee per product, the cost is now adjusted to € 165 in Belgium, sensibly the same amount than in the UK. Belgium’s choice was to not set up a transition period while The Netherlands gave manufacturers and importers up to November 20, 2016 to notify their product at no cost. In the Netherlands, the cost of a notification will be €44.85 with no upper limit while in France, another neighbour member state, this fee is capped to €7,600 per submission.

The definition of an e-cigarette is now tightly linked to the presence of nicotine (nicotinic alkaloides) in Belgium. Historically, their sale was not restricted in stores before the TPD but nicotine e-liquids were not allowed and Belgian vapers were obliged to turn to foreign countries to purchase their juices.

Uncertainties remain

An uncertainty is whether Belgian professionals will have to register their businesses on a yearly basis and how much it would cost them. No more complementary information regarding vaping bans or bans on advertising were provided in the final Royal Decree. Advertising e-cigarette will be illegal on January 17, 2017 like any type of propaganda about the product. Will vapers be allowed to try their e-liquids in vape shops? Apparently not although the Dutch law authorizes vapers to do so in this neighbour Member State, under particular constraints and the price of € 0.10 per e-liquid flavor.

No mention is made on potential taxation projects on nicotine e-liquids or on devices, as some other Member States already decided to milk vapers. The EU Commission, itself, is considering the question as the e-cigarette officially obtained the golden status of tobacco product for the administration last May without funding back the European Treasury with excises on tobacco.

Official support by the Belgian Cancer Foundation

The Belgian Cancer Foundation released a pro-vaping video on the e-cigarette that gives a piece of hope for the product in Belgium despite the many questions that come to mind with more-than-necessary regulation that will be enforced next year.

Will Belgian importers and manufacturers financially and administratively survive to the notification procedure?

Is there a risk, given the small market that Belgian vapers represent (only 2% of the population), that foreign manufacturers disregard the stringent local regulation and deprive Belgian smokers of a healthier alternative to smoking?

Tobacco is not a normal product

Sir, – I wish to respond to aletter from Forest Ireland

(November 17th).

Ireland is not a nanny state, as stated in the letter. On the contrary, it is an international leader in the fight against tobacco and nicotine addiction. Progressive legislation has been central to our success in reducing smoking prevalence by some 10 per cent in the past decade.

Tobacco is an addictive dangerous product that kills one in two of those who use it. This is not a normal product.

Regrettably, close to 6,000 of our citizens die annually because of smoking, and our health service spends well over a billion euro annually treating tobacco-related disease.

The only beneficiary from these dreadful statistics is the immensely profitable tobacco industry, which sponsors Forest UK, which is now linked to Forest Ireland. – Yours, etc,


ASH Ireland,
50 Ringsend Road,
Dublin 4

Flavoured cigarettes to be banned under tightened WA tobacco laws

WA tobacco laws are about to become even stricter with a proposed ban on flavoured cigarettes, split-packs, and minors selling tobacco products.

In an attempt by the government to tighten restrictions on the sale of tobacco, the proposed amendment bill would stop the sale of cigarettes with added fruit and confectionary flavour, split packs, and tobacco products at public events like music festivals.

It would also make WA the first Australian state to ban minors from selling cigarettes.

Xander Sardo-Infirri, a smoker in Perth, said he doubted the efficiency of the proposed laws.

“I’ve never been to a music festival where cigarettes were sold inside the venue and most venues these days are moving towards being tobacco-free anyway, so I don’t know what they’re hoping to achieve with that,” Mr Sardo-Infirri said.

He said he understood the reluctance to sell flavoured cigarettes that could appeal to young people, but said he strongly disagreed with the regulation of flavoured papers used to hand-roll cigarettes.

Cancer Council WA research coordinator Kelly Kennigton said she supported the government’s attempt to put the interests of children and public health over those of the tobacco industry and their profits.

“Every year, 1400 people in WA die from their tobacco addiction, and thousands more suffer from associated chronic diseases,” Mrs Kennington said.

“Deadly products that kill two out of three of users should not be promoted at music festivals or any events that young people attend, nor should we allow products such as ‘split packs’ that make it easier to recruit young people to this deadly habit.”

Health Minister John Day said the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill 2016 would put emphasis on protecting minors.

“Underage sales assistants are more likely to sell tobacco products to minors, and they should not be put in this position in the first place,” Mr Day said.

Mr Sardo-Infirri said he saw the value in discouraging young people from taking up smoking.

“I wish I’d never started and I wish I didn’t smoke now,” he said.

“A lot of people were against the plain packaging when it came in and that seemed to have results, so if they think these laws will work, go for it.”

WA already has some of Australia’s tightest restrictions on tobacco promotion and public smoking.

The 2006 Tobacco Products Control Regulations prohibits smoking in enclosed public places like shopping centres, theatres and cinemas, airports, cafes and restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, and sporting clubs.

In December 2013, the City of Perth banned smoking in major pedestrian areas like Hay St Mall, Murray St Mall, and Forrest Place.

Margaret River Main Street also became a smoke-free zone after proposal was passed last September.

Fruit and confectionary-flavoured cigarettes are already banned in South Australia, New South Wales, and Tasmania, and in WA retailers are not able to display them.

Split-pack cigarettes, designed to be split into two or more packs and therefore exempting the second and subsequent packs from showing the required health warnings, are likewise forbidden from being displayed but there is no direct ban on them – yet.

Mr Day said strong legislation was the foundation of tobacco control and there was more to be done.

He said most of the proposed provisions would have a six-month lead-in period with an education campaign for tobacco sellers.

Tobacco industry frustrating control – watchdog

An anti-tobacco misuse watchdog under the umbrella of Tobacco Control Forum has accused the tobacco industry of conniving with some government officials to frustrate tobacco control efforts.

This was at a press briefing at Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO) headquarters in Bukoto, Kampala.

Mabel Kukunda, UNHCO’s advocacy and networking officer, said the industry players funded a section of government officials to attend the Conference of the Parties (COP7) in India.

“We know that lobbying government officials is one of the documented strategies that the tobacco industry uses to subvert, undermine and derail tobacco control efforts,” she told reporters.

“We are aware that a team of people who support the tobacco business forced their way to attend a global anti-tobacco conference but were blocked on the basis that they are tobacco industry promoters.”

Those nominated were a 14-member team from the health and finance ministries and NGOs fighting tobacco consumption.

The COP is the governing body of the WHO framework convention on tobacco control and is comprised of all parties to the convention. It keeps under regular review the implementation of the convention and takes the decisions necessary to promote effective implementation.

“Given its mandate, the tobacco industry and its allies must not in any way participate in this meeting as this would clearly be an act of interfering with the tobacco control formulation process,” said Kukunda.

Andrew Kwizeera, the technical resource person of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, explained that participation of the tobacco industry and its allies in any activity furthering tobacco control is an attempt to promote tobacco industry interests at a global level.

“Their attempts are always to show the public that they are in the normal business yet their operations impact negatively on the lives of the people because their products are toxic.”

Section 19 of the Tobacco Act restricts government officials from interacting, supporting, endorsing or accepting any non-binding or non-enforceable agreement with the tobacco industry except for purposes of regulating and monitoring the tobacco industry or products and the interaction must be transparent.

Kwizeera said the Tobacco Control bill aims at promoting and providing alternative livelihoods for persons engaged in tobacco growing centrally to the assertions by the tobacco industry and its allies that tobacco growing is being banned.

Jennifer Kalule, the technical advisor communications and advocacy at the Centre for Disease Control, urged government officials to desist from getting involved in tobacco industry efforts to derail tobacco control efforts.

“There is no excuse whatsoever that justifies undermining domestic laws including Tobacco Control Act which was enacted to protect the health and lives of Ugandans,” she said.

Myanmar ranks last in ASEAN tobacco control study

With out-of-date policies, cheap access, and ubiquitous usage, Myanmar ranks last in tobacco control, according to a survey of the region released last week.

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) study measures each of the ASEAN countries’ implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) framework for tobacco control. Myanmar scored 45.7 out of 100, falling just behind the Philippines and Laos. Singapore topped the list with a score of 80.5.

Myanmar adopted the Control of Smoking and Consumption of Tobacco Product Law on May 4, 2006, to reduce the number of people using tobacco and tobacco-related products. The law contains rules on non-smoking areas and regulations to control the sale, production and advertising of tobacco products.

However, according to the SEATCA survey, Myanmar lags behind other countries in its banning of smoking in indoor workspaces, including bars and restaurants, and indoor public places. It is the only country that has not regularly updated its tobacco control policy and strategy, according to the study.

While it falls in the middle of the pack for taxation of tobacco products, Myanmar stands alone as the only country in the region that does not spend any public money on tobacco control, according to the study. And, despite the taxation, cigarettes are still fairly cheap: K2000 for a pack of Regular Marl¬boros and K800 for a pack of Red Ruby, the most popular brand in the country. Red Ruby’s are the cheapest cigarettes in the region.

The country is also middling in its ability to provide education or cessation programs.

According to the report, the government does not allow tobacco industry officials to sit on government committees or advisory groups that are deciding health policy.

However, the government does give preferential treatment to the tobacco industry, according to the report.

Like many of the other countries in the region, regulation of tobacco advertising and sponsorship goes unenforced in many mediums. Tobacco ads are banned in television, movies, print media, and billboards but there is no enforcement of tobacco advertising bans on the internet.

Regulations on the packaging of tobacco products, on the other hand, are fairly strong when compared with other countries in the region. A majority of the packaging is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of using tobacco.

In February, the government announced that new regulations would go into effect on September 1, requiring that health warnings and graphic photos illustrating the dangers of tobacco use must appear on all brands of cigarette and other tobacco products manufactured in Myanmar.

However, the tobacco companies asked for a six-month reprieve. The Department of Public Health told The Myanmar Times that following appeals from the companies – which cited a lack of awareness among retailers that they could face punishment if they sell incorrectly packaged products – the rules would not go into effect until February 2017.

Once the new law is in full effect, anyone involved in the production, distribution or sale of tobacco products that do not contain a graphic warning label could be subject to a fine of between K10,000 (US$7.95) and K30,000 for a first offence.

According to a 2014 survey, the rate of tobacco use in Myanmar is 26.1 percent of the population, including 43.8pc of men and 8.4pc of women.

Philip Morris predicts e-cigarettes to kill off traditional smokes

A BIG tobacco company says it sees a future without cigarettes as it pushes to overcome legislative hurdles to launch a smokeless cigarette in Australia.

The move by Philip Morris International to introduce its new product has so far been thwarted by the Federal Government, which refuses to follow the US, UK, Japan and parts of Europe in allowing the legal sale of e-cigarettes.

Health experts told the Herald Sun smokeless cigarettes were a good alternative to quitting smoking.

“For smokers who are unable to quit, switching to reduced-risk products is likely to substantially reduce their risk of smoking-related disease and death,” conjoint associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said.

Australian Paul Riley, president of PMI in Japan, believes smokeless cigarettes such as the company’s iQOS product will one day sound the death knell for traditional cigarettes.

The device uses real tobacco, but instead of burning it to produce hazardous smoke and tar, it heats it to produce tobacco-flavoured vapour.

“Our goal in Japan is to switch every one of our users on to this product as quickly as possible,” Mr Riley said. “In the last 12 months it has moved quickly … it is a realistic vision.”

Prof Mendelsohn said although it was preferable for smokers to quit, he believed e-cigarettes were a first step.

“The first choice is always to give up all tobacco and nicotine completely if possible … iQOS heats tobacco to produce an aerosol without combustion, or smoke, and is a much safer alternative to smoking.”

Department of Health spokeswoman Kay McNiece said: “The Australian Government is taking a precautionary approach and is examining the policy and regulatory framework on e-cigarettes.”

E-cigarettes ‘just as harmful as tobacco’ for oral health

Electronic cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. When it comes to oral health, however, new research suggests vaping may be just as harmful as smoking.

In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vapor were equally as damaging – in some cases, more damaging – to mouth cells as tobacco smoke.

Such damage can lead to an array of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth cancer.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices containing a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. The heating device vaporizes the liquid – usually when the user “puffs” on the device – and the resulting vapor is inhaled.

While e-cigarette liquids do not contain tobacco – a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes – they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes has increased in recent years, particularly among young people. In 2015, 16 percent of high-school students reported using the devices, compared with just 1.5 percent in 2011.

E-cigarettes are considered by many to be safer than conventional smoking, but because the devices are relatively new to the market, little is known about the long-term effects of vaping on health.

In particular, study leader Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues note that there has been limited data on how e-cigarette vapor affects oral health.

Flavored vapor worsens damage to gum tissue cells
To address this gap in research, the team exposed the gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor.

The tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.

The researchers found that all e-cigarette vapor caused damage to gum tissue cells comparable to that caused by exposure to tobacco smoke.

“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.

The researchers note that nicotine is a known contributor to gum disease, but e-cigarette flavoring appeared to exacerbate the cell damage caused by e-cigarette vapor, with menthol-flavored vapor posing the most harm.

While further research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of e-cigarette use, Rahman and team believe their findings indicate that the devices may have negative implications for oral health.

“Overall, our data suggest the pathogenic role of [e-cigarette] aerosol to cells and tissues of the oral cavity, leading to compromised periodontal health,” they conclude.

E-cigarette vapor damaged, killed 53 percent of mouth cells in 3 days

Another study recently published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology builds on the findings from Rahman and colleagues, after finding a high rate of mouth cell death with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just a few days.

To reach their findings, Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia, of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at Université Laval in Canada, and colleagues placed epithelial cells from the mouth in a chamber that contained a liquid similar to saliva.

To simulate vaping, the researchers pumped e-cigarette vapor into the chamber at a rate of two 5-second puffs every 60 seconds for 15 minutes a day. This was performed over 1, 2, or 3 days.

On analyzing the vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope, the researchers identified a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.

The rate of damage or death in unexposed cells is around 2 percent, the researchers note. However, they found that with exposure to e-cigarette vapor, the number of dead or dying cells rose to 18 percent, 40 percent, and 53 percent over 1, 2, and 3 days, respectively.

While the cumulative effects of the cell damage caused by e-cigarette are unclear, the researchers believe their findings are a cause for concern.

“Damage to the defensive barrier in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, inflammation, and gum disease. Over the longer term, it may also increase the risk of cancer. This is what we will be investigating in the future.”

Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia

Think tanks with ties to tobacco arguing against plain packaging

A tobacco company speaking out against a public-health measure doesn’t have the same credibility as a respected think tank or advocacy group. So those companies often work with or donate funds to organizations that publicly criticize tobacco taxes and other new regulatory measures.

Those financial relationships create the possibility for bias. Yet most of the organizations on the receiving end of tobacco donations do not clearly disclose that information when speaking about related issues.

The latest example is the current debate over plain packaging.

The federal government wants to pass new regulations that would strip brand colours and logos from tobacco products and instead require them to carry a standard plain colour and font in addition to the graphic health warnings that are currently used. The government hopes the move can stop some of the nearly 90,000 Canadians who pick up the deadly habit each year. Across the country, nearly 40,000 people die annually from tobacco-related illnesses

Not surprisingly, the three biggest tobacco companies in Canada, Imperial Tobacco Canada; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges; and JTI-Macdonald, are all opposed to the measure.

But they aren’t the only ones against the proposal. Some think tanks and advocacy groups with tobacco funding are also speaking out against plain packaging. And yet, these groups typically don’t mention their financial ties when speaking about policy.

For example, the Montreal Economic Institute published a report in September saying plain packaging “attacks the value of brands.” It included a disclaimer saying the report was “in no way” financed by tobacco. In September 2015, institute president Michel Kelly-Gagnon authored a Huffington Post article saying plain packaging drove consumption higher in Australia, where it was adopted in 2012. The article didn’t mention an industry connection.

But in an e-mail, Kelly-Gagnon said the institute has “proudly received” tobacco funding since 1998 in amounts between 2 and 4 per cent of its budget. He said in an interview that the organization recently decided to stop accepting donations from the industry because health groups use that information to criticize its work.

Then there’s the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, which issued a press release in September warning about the prevalence of illegal cigarettes and how the problem will worsen with plain packaging. A letter to the editor from the coalition and published in The Globe and Mail in September also stated that plain packaging will increase the contraband market. In its official comments to the federal government on plain packaging, the coalition said there is “no doubt” the new measure “will increase the availability of the illegal product.” The document doesn’t mention financial ties to tobacco.

Online, the coalition lists its members, which include the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Toronto Crime Stoppers and the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council.

But according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail, the coalition works closely with the country’s three major tobacco companies to shape its public statements and reports. The coalition declined an interview request and did not respond directly to questions about its ties to tobacco.

Another example dates back to May, when the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a Halifax think tank, hosted a talk by Sinclair Davidson, an Australian professor and vocal plain-packaging critic. According to articles in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Institute of Public Affairs, where Davidson is a fellow, has received tobacco funding and some experts have criticized Davidson’s work as flawed.

In an e-mail, Davidson defended his work and said he was invited to speak in Canada by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA). But according to the AIMS Facebook page, Davidson’s Halifax visit was organized by the institute in partnership with Crestview Strategy, a public-affairs firm. According to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, Crestview currently lobbies on behalf of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges. (Crestview and Rothmans did not respond to questions about the visit.)

The CCSA said it does receive funding from the tobacco industry but declined to state an amount or respond to questions about Davidson’s visit.

Imperial Tobacco Canada; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges; and JTI-Macdonald declined requests to name the groups they fund, but said they work with groups that share their views.

Julia Smith, a postdoctoral research fellow at Simon Fraser University who studies tobacco control, said she is concerned organizations with financial ties to tobacco will help derail plain packaging and other health measures, in part because many believe their views are independent and unbiased. “We’ve seen the tobacco industry use these tactics in the past,” she said, noting that “in some cases, they have been successful.”

Beyond engaging vocal sources, the tobacco industry has also commissioned several reports that say plain packaging is ineffective. But independent research tells a different story.

An Australian government survey found the number of daily smokers fell from 2.7 million in 2010 to 2.5 million in 2013. The average age young people reported smoking their first full cigarette rose from 15.4 years in 2010 to 15.9 years in 2013. And a 2013 study published in the journal Tobacco Control found only a small number of retail stores sold illicit cigarettes. Before plain packaging, researchers found about 2 per cent of cigarette packages to be illicit, compared to 0.6 per cent in the months after implementation.

Think tanks and advocacy groups regularly seek to influence public policy. But policy-makers and the public deserve to know when those organizations may be representing the interests of others.

DOH wants e-cig, vapes covered by smoking ban

To fortify the government’s campaign against smoking, the Department of Health (DOH) has recommended to Malacañang that electronic cigarettes (e-cig) and vapes be included in the public smoking ban.

DOH spokesman Eric Tayag said the agency’s proposed executive order for the smoking ban includes e-cigs and vapes, although Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 did not cover these.

“There is now evidence that they are also threats to our health, so they should be included in the ban,” Tayag said.

The DOH is now waiting for President Duterte to sign its proposed EO that seeks to prohibit smoking in all public places across the country. This restriction is not included in RA 9211.

With the proposed ban complemented by the sin tax law, the DOH is expecting the current smoking prevalence rate of 23 percent to go down by at least 10 percent initially.

Tayag noted that while e-cigs and vapes are being marketed as tools to quit smoking, these actually encourage smoking.

He underscored that just like traditional cigarettes, these two devices also contain nicotine and other harmful substances.

“That’s how the manufacturers are marketing it – that they will help people quit smoking. But in fact, many cigarette manufacturers are now manufacturing e-cigs and vapes,” he said.

Tayag noted that since curbing smoking has been succeeding worldwide, cigarette manufacturers are producing e-cigs and vapes as “other avenue” for their business.

He said the health department worries about the grave impact of e-cigs and vapes on children, who could not differentiate them from traditional cigarettes.

The health official said he also expects tobacco manufacturers to block the inclusion of these devices in the health department’s proposed ban on cigarettes.