THE Department of Health and Food and Drugs Administration have changed their position on the use of vape from total ban to only regulation.
At yesterday’s public hearing in the House of Representatives DOH officials proposed regulation of the e-cigarettes or vape.
The health department had been reported pushing for a total ban on electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products.
FDA Director Ana Trinidad Rivera told members of the House committees on trade and industry and on health that the FDA and the DOH now support the proposal to only partially ban sale to and use of vapes by smokers aged 24 and below.
“There is a need to establish sound regulatory strategies to protect public health...We must prohibit access to vapes of young people and allow it only to those 25 years of age,” the official said.
DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo had consistently pushed for a total ban on ENDS, especially after announcing the first probable e-cigarette and vape-caused lung injury (EVALI) case in the country last month.
“All e-cigarette users should seek immediate medical help, and ask their doctors for ways to quit these harmful products. I urge nonusers not to even try e-cigarettes at all,” he stressed.
President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered a ban on importation and use of vapes and e-cigarettes in public areas.
Besides stringent regulation on sale and use of ENDS, the FDA also sought mandatory graphic health warning on packaging of vapes as well as prohibition on advertisements and promotion and flavors targeting the youth.
For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) pushed for strict regulation of ENDS in the same hearing.
DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo told lawmakers that vapes and e-cigarettes should be regulated the same way as combustible tobacco is regulated by government and ban their use and sale among minors or those 17 years old and below.
The lawmakers are also expected to look into the case of the 16-year-old girl in the Visayas documented by the DOH as the country’s first probable case of EVALI.