On Thursday, 67 civil society organizations urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the Vape Bill, the bicameral bill of Senate Bill No. 2239 and House Bill No. 9007, in its entirety.

“The bill contradicts the supposed intention of protecting the Filipino youth from addiction. Passing this bill is an utter disservice to the health, welfare and well-being of your constituents. It is anti-youth, anti-health, and pro-addiction,” the groups said in a letter sent to Malacañang.

The letter’s signatories included barangay health workers, sectoral organizations, urban poor communities, and health advocacy groups.

The vape bill, which was passed on third and final reading in the Senate on December 16, 2021, contains several provisions that loosen restrictions on the use of vape and heated tobacco products.

It lowers the age limit of access to e-cigarettes and vapes from 21 to 18 years old; transfers regulatory jurisdiction from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and allows multiple flavors, which target and attract the youth.

Expanding access to vapes would endanger the youth, they noted. The 2019 Global Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 1 in 7 Filipino students aged 13 to 15 are e-cigarette users. The groups argued that strict regulation is needed to prevent the epidemic of vaping-related lung injuries in other countries from gaining a foothold in the Philippines.

Citing President Duterte’s strong stance against substance abuse and addiction, the groups called on the President to fulfill his campaign promise and leave a legacy of protecting public health by vetoing the bill. The Vape Bill, they said, directly goes against the President’s previous pronouncements and policy directives on the dangers of vaping.

In 2020, President Duterte signed EO 106, which bans the manufacture, distribution, marketing and sale of unregistered e-cigarette products and expanded the ban on cigarette smoking in enclosed public areas to include vapes. He also signed Republic Act No. 11346, which regulates novel tobacco products.

CSO participants in the call to veto the vape bill:

  1. Action for Economic Reforms
  2. Action on Smoking and Health Philippines
  3. ADOHRE Assn of DOH Retired Employees, Inc  
  4. Aktibong Nakatatanda  sa Commonwealth QC (AKNACOM)
  5. Aktibong Kilusan Tungo sa Iisang Bayan (AKTIB Philippines)
  6. Aktibong Kilusan ng mga Maralitang Mamamayan
  7. AKTIB Youth Malinta
  8. AKTIB-Pateros
  9. Balay Mindanaw 
  10. Barangay Health Workers Brgy. 105 Tondo 
  11. Barangay Health Workers, Brgy 28 Caloocan 
  12. Barangay Health Workers, Brgy San Joaquin Pasig City 
  13. Barangay Health Workers Brgy Tabacalera, Pateros MM
  14. Batasan Neighborhood
  15. Bicycle Friendly Philippines 
  16. Cabrera People’s Unity Pasay City
  17. Cancer Warriors Foundation 
  18. Cares for the Children, Binondo, Manila
  19. Care for the Street Children 
  20. Center for the Empowerment and Development of Elderly and Seniors
  21. Childreamers Inc. 
  22. Child Rights Network
  23. Citizen’s Budget Tracker
  24. Commonwealth East Neighborhood Alliance Quezon City
  26. DAYAP Homeowners Association, Calauan, Laguna
  27. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines
  28. HealthJustice
  29. Healthy Philippines Alliance
  30. ImagineLaw
  31. IMAP Inc. 
  32. Kara Alikpala of ICanServe 
  33. Kilusan ng mga Komunidad Para sa Smoke-Free na Kapaligiran (KKK)
  34. LIKAS 
  35. Lingap Para Sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan 
  38. Maypajo Urban Poor Association, Caloocan City
  39. Nagkakaisang Grupo ng Mamamayan sa Sitio Aroma, Tondo, Manila 
  40. NAPC-Senior Citizens Sectoral Council 
  41. Parents Coordinated Actions –Baseco 
  42. Parola Tondo Association 
  43. Patient Association of the Philippines (PAPO) 
  44. Payatas Community Based Alliance
  45. Philippine Health Council 
  46. Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD)
  47. Pinyahan Network of Informal Sectors 
  48. Psoriasis Philippines 
  49. Psychosocial Disability-Inclusive Philippines 
  50. Philippine Alliance of Persons with Chronic Illness (PAPCI) 
  51. Project ACCESS 
  52. PUP SPEAK 
  53. Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Villa Bernardo
  54. Samahang Mamamayan ng mga Taga Norte, Brgy.372, Sta Cruz Manila
  55. Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay sa J.De Moriones St.,(Binondo, Manila) 
  56. Samahan ng mga Mamamayan sa Baseco Port Area Manila
  57. SideCar Boys Club 
  58. Social Watch Philippines
  59. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance 
  60. Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Philippines 
  61. SWP-ABI Health Cluster
  62. Teatro Mulat 
  63. Ugnayan ng mga Kabataan sa BASECO, Port Area, Manila 
  64. Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan sa Almanza Dos, Las Pinas
  65. WAND Women Organization, Inc. 
  66. WomanHealth Philippines
  67.   YES-O (Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (Pateros National High School)