Medical groups again call on Duterte to veto vaping bill stock photo

MANILA, Philippines — Medical companies on Monday renewed their call for President Rodrigo Duterte to fully veto the regulation of vaporized nicotine products, or vaping bill.

“Mr. President, we ask that you veto the vaping bill. This is a deregulation of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, President of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), during a virtual press briefing.

“This bill will actually break the vow you made to Filipinos to fight addiction. What will happen is that it will increase addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs,” she added.

Last week, the conference’s bicameral committee reconciled the differing provisions of the Senate and House versions of the bill.

The PCP, along with the Philippine Medical Association, the Philippine Pediatric Society and 55 other medical, allied health and professional public health organizations, made the same call in a letter sent to Mr. Duterte in December last year.

Limpin stressed that the goal behind the bill was for the tobacco industry to expand its market to include children.

“The truth is that the tobacco industry wants to expand its market by making it available to children, their future clientele,” she said.

Dr. Corry Avanceña, a pediatric pulmonologist, urged Duterte to think about his daughter, Kitty, in vetoing the bill.

“I want to ask the president to think of his daughter when he vetoes the bill. Think of Filipino children. We don’t want them to get into the habit,” said Avanceña, who was also pushing to allow access to vaping only to people aged 21 and over.

Doctors said the measure would undermine health regulations when it shifts regulatory authority from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Department of Commerce and Industry.

The proposed law also lowers the age limit for vaping from 21 to 18 and removes the existing two-flavor restriction.

Medical companies have also slammed the tobacco industry for allegedly misleading some doctors to make false claims about the controversial measure.

Limpin said some doctors say the bill will finally regulate vaping by making it available so smokers can quit and minors are protected.

“This is misinformation being peddled by the tobacco industry,” she said.

Eric Domingo, former director general of the FDA also pointed out that vaping products must be regulated by the FDA. INQ

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