MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto wants to regulate vaping and vape products in the country to reduce the harm caused by smoking.
He filed Senate Bill No. 1951 under which "the government shall regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of Vaporized Nicotine Products."
In addition to reducing the harm caused by smoking, Recto in an explanatory note for the proposed measure said the bill would serve to "promote a healthy environment and protect the citizens from any potential hazards coming from the use of these novel consumer products."
Novel consumer goods that generate a nicotine-containing or non-nicotine containing aerosol without combustion or burning both fall under the proposed measure's definition of Vaporized Nicotine Products. The category also includes both heated tobacco products and vapor products.
"Most importantly, this bill grants the Department of Trade and Industry jurisdiction over these products. To ensure that defective, dangerous, and substandard products are kept off the market, product standards for consumables and electrical devices in line with international practices shall be made mandatory," Recto said.
Despite the regulations contained in the proposed measure, the senator said it also seeks to ensure that access to non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes is not curtailed.
Age restrictions and marketing
The proposed measure, Recto added, imposes a minimum age restriction of 18 years for vape products and "mandates that buyers be made to verify their age through a government-issued identification card." It also requires that websites carrying vape products to be age gated.
"It shall not be a defense for the person selling or distributing that he/she did not know or was not aware of the real age of the purchaser. Neither shall it be a defense that he/she did not know nor had any reason to believe that the product was for the consumption of a person below eighteen (18) years of age," the bill reads.
While Recto's bill allows advertising and other forms of communication to "ensure that adult smokers are made aware of these products and encouraged to switch to [them]," it also stipulates that "product communication should not be false or unsubstantiated."
"It is also prohibited for these marketing materials to target minors or non-smokers," Recto added.
The bill also requires that risk-appropriate warnings be displayed in the packaging of vape products.
The use of vape products in schools, hospitals, government facilities and other facilities intended particularly for minors, is prohibited by the measure.
"In other indoor places open to the general public, the use of Vaporized Nicotine Products shall not be allowed except in designated vaping areas or in point-of-sale establishments for purposes of conducting product comprehension sessions," the bill reads.
The trade and industry committee of the House of Representatives in September approved a bill that aims to regulate the manufacture, sale and distribution of vapes, e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems. — Bella Perez-Rubio
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