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DTI Suspends Selling of Flava Vape Products


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) orders the suspension of selling, manufacturing, importing and distribution of Flava Corporation’s vape products. DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), in its Preliminary Order dated March 15, 2024, invoked its adjudicatory power under Executive Order No. 913, in relation to Department Order No. 07, Series of 2006, explaining that the halting of the trading of controversial Flava’s vape products as being necessary to “preserve the integrity of the subject products and to prevent the continuance of the acts complained of.” The acts referred to are Flava Corporation’s alleged violations of the Vape Law, or Republic Act No. 11900 on product communication restrictions, particularly the use of flavor descriptors and engaging celebrities in advertising and marketing of Flava’s vape products.

Section 12 of the Vape Law prohibits the sale of vape products that are presented or marketed with flavor descriptors that unduly appeal to minor. A flavor descriptor is presumed to unduly appeal to minors if it includes a reference to a fruit, candy brand, dessert or cartoon character. The same section of the law likewise bans the use of use of celebrities in endorsing or advertising the vape product.

In the Formal Charge filed by FTEB’s Prosecution Unit, which was approved by Director Fhillip Sawali, it was claimed that Flava and its co-respondent Lila Vape Shop unlawfully used celebrities in its social media posts and its product launching of ROMIO 9500 in December 2023. Also, it was discovered that the said new product line of Flava used fruit, candy and dessert flavor descriptors, such as taro ice cream, melon lychee, watermelon, iced chocolate, gummy bears, and bubblegum. Under the Vape Law and the implementing rules, retailers and manufacturers have the obligation to take precautionary measures and diligence in ensuring their compliance with the law and applicable regulations.

It may be recalled that on March 5, 2024, the House and Committee Ways and Means came out with its report on the discovery by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in October of billions worth of Flava vape products that were stored in a Valenzuela warehouse which appeared to be illegally imported and for which no taxes were paid. The congressional committee called the attention of relevant agencies, including the DTI, to intensify their regulatory and enforcement operations against other possible violations of Flava under applicable laws and regulations.

It may be noted also that several law enforcement agencies have seized illicit vapes during separate raids in the past two weeks. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested two suspects in San Pablo City, Laguna on March 11 for allegedly selling smuggled vapes, and confiscating said illegal items reportedly worth Php65 million.

Likewise, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated around Php4.6 billion worth of vape products believed to be smuggled from China during its two-day raid on warehouses in Malabon and Parañaque from 29 February to 1 March 2024.

Section 1 of RA No. 11900 declares a policy of the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people, among others, and for this purpose the government shall regulate the importation, assembly, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, promotion and sponsorship of vape products, and their devices and novel tobacco products to ensure healthy environment and ensure that the sale to minors and illicit trade are prevented.

RA 11900 grants the regulatory jurisdiction over vapes and other novel tobacco products to the DTI and complementary implementing roles to DOH, FDA, DSWD, DepEd, BIR and LGUs.

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