By Stephanie Sevillano

VAPING BAN. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Dexter Galban reports an intensified campaign against the selling, promotion, and use of vaping products inside school premises and within a 100-meter radius, in an interview on the People’s Television Network on Thursday (March 21, 2024). He said the DepEd will collaborate with other agencies for a stricted compliance with the ban. (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said it has intensified its efforts to end vaping within school premises, including prohibiting the selling and promotion of the product within a school’s 100-meter radius.

In a television interview with People’s Television Network, Education Assistant Secretary Dexter Galban said the DepEd will collaborate with other government agencies to ensure strict compliance with the ban.

“Patuloy po naming pinapalakas ang implementasyon ng aming mga programa. Mula Barkada Kontra Droga na naging Barkada Kontra Bisyo, (We are intensifying the implementation of our programs. From Friends versus Drugs that became Friends versus v

Vices), integrating it to our mental health program,” he said. 

The programs were launched in adherence to DepEd Order 14 and DepEd Memorandum 111, which prohibits the use of cigarettes and vapes in schools.

“Gumawa rin kami ng task force, na pinangungunahan mismo ng mga kabataan, ng ating mga learners na magiging (We also created a task force, led by the youth, our learners who will serve as) watchdogs,” Galban added. 

Among the partner agencies for the campaign are the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

The DILG and DOH will help cascade policies and awareness campaigns beyond school premises, while the DTI will assist the DepEd stop the sale of vapes, considering its enticing marketing strategy.

“Patuloy pong may lumulusot sapagkat pati ang packaging ng mga vape ay nag-e-evolve din. May mga mukhang USB, ballpen, highlighter at iba pa (Some remain accessible because the vape packaging is also evolving. Some look like a flash drive, ballpen, highlighter, etc.),” Galban said. 

“Makikipagtulungan tayo sa kada ahensya ng pamahalaan, lalung-lalo na sa lokal na pamahalaan para masigurado natin na hindi na magiging available itong mga ito sa ating mga mag-aaral (We will work together with each government agency, especially in local government units to ensure that this [vape] will not be available to our learners),” he added.

Galban, meanwhile, warned learners that vaping is highly addictive and may cause low concentration, withdrawal symptoms, and may even affect brain functions. 

“Napakaraming masamang epekto sa kalusugan ang pagve-vape. Lalung-lalo na dahil kalimitan napakataas ng nicotine content nito, dahil dito sobrang nakakaadik, nakaka-engganyo siya (Vapijg has many bad side effects. Especially because oftentimes, it has a very high nicotine content. It’s very addicting, enticing),” he said. 

He also urged parents and teachers to become role models and participate in the DepEd’s awareness campaigns.

In an earlier report, the DepEd said around 6 to 7 percent of Grade 7 to Grade 9 learners have already tried or are using vape. 

The Philippine Pediatric Society, likewise, reported that around 11 percent of students aged 10 to 15 have tried vaping as per 2021 data. (PNA)