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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.

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