Groups Back Clampdown on Unregistered E-Cigarettes, Laud Strict E-Cigarette Regulation

Action on Smoking & Health (ASH Philippines) and the EcoWaste Coalition jointly commended President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for issuing Executive Order No. 106 prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, marketing, and sale of unregistered and/or adulterated electronic cigarettes and other related products.

Signed last February 26, the EO requires all electronic nicotine/non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS), heated tobacco products (HTPs), and other novel tobacco products to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It bans the use, sale, or purchase of such products by a person below 21, as well as vaping in public other than in designated smoking/vaping areas (DSVAs), among other prohibited acts.

“We are grateful that President Duterte has remained true to his promise to put a prime value on the health of the Filipinos and to protect their welfare over and above the vested commercial interest of the e-cigarette industry,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, ASH Philippines Executive Director and National Secretary of Philippine College of Physicians.

Limpin likewise lauded Duterte for recognizing the FDA as the lead agency to regulate e-cigarettes. “The president has the wisdom to ensure that e-cigarettes be regulated by the appropriate government agency that has the mandate and the capacity to do so,” she said, noting that “FDA has the proper knowledge and expertise to determine the safety of ENDS/ENNDS and HTPs.”

“We welcome the government’s latest public health policy, which will help in protecting users and the general public from the dangers of consuming e-cigarettes, particularly the nicotine content in the e-liquids that is often not sufficiently disclosed on product labeling,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for a zero waste and toxics-free society.

“Even though nicotine is known to be acutely toxic, we find e-liquids poorly labeled in terms of providing safety information that is required for harmful mixtures, including risk-related indications, especially if the product is ingested or comes into contact with the skin,” he noted.

“We are also concerned with the inappropriate packaging of some e-liquids that make them attractive to children such as the misleading use of the term ‘juice,’ images of fruits and candy-sounding brand names,” he said, adding “a child could be accidentally exposed to such harmful mixtures.”

In the furtherance of the people’s basic right to health, ASH Philippines and the EcoWaste Coalition urged the 18th Congress to take their cue from the chief executive in the regulation of e-cigarettes and not do anything that will thwart or weaken E.O. 106.