President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (MNS photo)

MANILA, May 2 (Mabuhay) –The Department of Health  appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the proposed bill that seeks to lower the age of access to vape and e-cigarette products from 21 to 18.

According to the DOH, Senate Bill (SB) 2239 or the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act contains “retrogressive provisions,” adding that it undermines existing national laws, policies, and standards on regulation, distribution, and use of vapor products and heated tobacco products.

“The vape bill is contrary to public health goals and to President Duterte’s established position to protect Filipinos – especially the youth – from the harmful effects of smoke and emissions from tobacco products, vapor products, and heated tobacco products,” the Health department said in a statement.

“If passed, the vape bill will also negate the gains of Republic Act No. 11223 (Universal Health Care Act) and other health laws. It will [expose] Filipino youths to undue risk of harmful and addictive substances associated with vape use like alcohol, marijuana, and potentially other illicit drugs,” it added.

The bill provides regulations on the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and communication of vape products and novel tobacco products.

According to the  DOH, if the President vetoes the vape bill, tobacco control in the country would be strengthened.

It added that it will also provide an “enviable and lasting legacy” that will guarantee the health of future young generations.

“The DOH and its different stakeholders support the avowed policy of the administration to protect the health of the nation, especially the youth. Hence, our continued assertion for the veto of the Vape Bill,” the Health department said.

“The DOH remains committed to protecting the administration’s legacy in tobacco control and reducing the burden of the disease caused by these harmful products,” it added.

Manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sellers will be given an 18-month transitory period from the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations to comply with the requirements of this measure.

This would include the registration of the vape products with the DTI. (MNS)

READ NEXT: OFW Hospital in Pampanga fully operational by June — Bello