THE Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) said it objects to legislation restricting the liquid flavorings they are allowed to offer, but added that it otherwise supports the regulatory intent of the bill filed in the Senate.
Senate Bill (SB) No. 1951, or the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, sought to regulate the importation, manufacture, packaging, distribution, use and promotion of vapor products and heated tobacco products (HTPs).
The bill will impose an 18-year minimum age for the purchase, sale and use of these products, subject to verification via valid ID. Stores are also prohibited from selling vapor products within 100 meters of a school, playground and other similar facilities.
“We are supportive of the proposal filed by Senator (Ralph G.) Recto. We believe that our products should not be made available to minors,” PECIA President Joey Dulay said in a Dec. 22 e-mail.
“We also share his objectives of ensuring that proper product standards are put in place and that these are implemented by an able and impartial government regulator.”
SB 1951 requires vapor product refills, HTP consumables, devices and systems to comply with the technical standards set by the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure safety and quality.
These standards also prohibit the industry from using additives such as vitamins, caffeine and others that make the product appear to offer “health benefits” or serve as a stimulant.
“We hope that the good senator reconsiders his position on limiting the flavors available for vapor products to just tobacco and menthol,” he said, referring to Mr. Recto, the bill’s author.
“We are against flavors that are directed to and aimed at enticing the youth but there are a lot of flavors that are not attractive to kids and have been shown to help adult smokers to switch to these products,” he added, citing coffee, tea, and plain fruit flavors.
He noted that in the UK, a wide range of flavors is offered for vapor products, which nevertheless have low youth uptake rates. He said this proves that a good law and its proper implementation are key to preventing minors from accessing such products.
On top of the restrictions on the sale, packaging and promotion of the products, the bill would also impose penalties for noncompliance, starting with a fine of up to P150,000 on first offense, P250,000 on second, and P500,000 or imprisonment of up to five years or both on third offense. — Charmaine A. Tadalan