An official of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) belied the claim of vaping supporters that heated tobacco products or electronic nicotine delivery devices are ‘switching products’, claiming it to help smokers quit.
“Sinasabi nila sa kanilang marketing na they want people to switch and that is supposedly also the same as quitting smoking, which is not really true. Ano po ang reality? The reality is that, there are many smokers when they try to quit smoking and use e-cigarettes, they’ve become dual users,” said Dr. Edgardo Ulysses Dorotheo, SEATCA Executive Director, in his message during a press briefing. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dual use is when some people try to cut back on smoking cigarettes or work toward quitting smoking completely by using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), smokeless tobacco, or other tobacco products in addition to regular cigarettes.
Dr. Dorotheo even cited the recent news article of The Guardian which reported the inventor of e-cigarettes, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, becoming a dual user himself.
This is why, he explained, ‘vapes’ will never be an effective cessation strategy or even for ‘switching’. On the contrary, he warned the government that the vape bill is particularly “worrisome” because of the profile of vapers in the Philippines. Citing the study of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2018, Dr. Dorotheo said that 20% of vapers right now are teens. For her part, Dr. Rizalina Gonzalez, Philippine Pediatric Society said that “vaping now is also a pediatric problem.”
She said that she is disappointed when legislators claim that this is a “landmark bill” when in fact this is disastrous as it allows vapes to be attractive and accessible for more younger Filipinos. Atty. Benedict Nisperos also corrected news articles which say that this is the first time the Philippines is regulating vapes and similar products.
“We have laws which have been passed by this same Congress in 2019 and 2020 which raised access to vapes from 18 to 2021 and restricted flavors to plain menthol and tobacco. The President even issued an executive order to ban importation and use of the vapes in public places,” Atty. Nisperos said. Republic Act 11346 and 11467 were signed by the President in 2019 and 2020 while Executive Order 106 was issued shortly after. This happened right after the President said vapes are “toxic” and that they “kill” people. “Legislators claiming that this vape bill is consistent with the public health legacy of the Duterte Administration is simply twisting of the true stand of this administration against smoking and vaping,” Atty. Nisperos concluded.
Atty. Nisperos, Dr. Dorotheo and Dr. Gonzalez all appealed for the President to veto the vape bill for being a danger to public health particularly the Filipino youth. Earlier, seven former health secretaries, the Philippine Medical Association, and 50 other medical societies also called for the President to veto the vape bill.
*Featured photo from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327374#is-vaping-dangerous