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:
- Action for Economic Reforms
- Action on Smoking and Health Philippines
- ADOHRE Assn of DOH Retired Employees, Inc
- Aktibong Nakatatanda sa Commonwealth QC (AKNACOM)
- Aktibong Kilusan Tungo sa Iisang Bayan (AKTIB Philippines)
- Aktibong Kilusan ng mga Maralitang Mamamayan
- AKTIB Youth Malinta
- Balay Mindanaw
- Barangay Health Workers Brgy. 105 Tondo
- Barangay Health Workers, Brgy 28 Caloocan
- Barangay Health Workers, Brgy San Joaquin Pasig City
- Barangay Health Workers Brgy Tabacalera, Pateros MM
- Batasan Neighborhood
- Bicycle Friendly Philippines
- Cabrera People’s Unity Pasay City
- Cancer Warriors Foundation
- Cares for the Children, Binondo, Manila
- Care for the Street Children
- Center for the Empowerment and Development of Elderly and Seniors
- Childreamers Inc.
- Child Rights Network
- Citizen’s Budget Tracker
- Commonwealth East Neighborhood Alliance Quezon City
- CONFEDERATION OF OLDER PERSONS ASSOCIATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES (COPAP)
- DAYAP Homeowners Association, Calauan, Laguna
- Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines
- Healthy Philippines Alliance
- IMAP Inc.
- Kara Alikpala of ICanServe
- Kilusan ng mga Komunidad Para sa Smoke-Free na Kapaligiran (KKK)
- Lingap Para Sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan
- LINKS FOR INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY
- MAMAS BRIGADE ASSOCIATION, INC (MBA)
- Maypajo Urban Poor Association, Caloocan City
- Nagkakaisang Grupo ng Mamamayan sa Sitio Aroma, Tondo, Manila
- NAPC-Senior Citizens Sectoral Council
- Parents Coordinated Actions –Baseco
- Parola Tondo Association
- Patient Association of the Philippines (PAPO)
- Payatas Community Based Alliance
- Philippine Health Council
- Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD)
- Pinyahan Network of Informal Sectors
- Psoriasis Philippines
- Psychosocial Disability-Inclusive Philippines
- Philippine Alliance of Persons with Chronic Illness (PAPCI)
- Project ACCESS
- PUP SPEAK
- Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Villa Bernardo
- Samahang Mamamayan ng mga Taga Norte, Brgy.372, Sta Cruz Manila
- Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay sa J.De Moriones St.,(Binondo, Manila)
- Samahan ng mga Mamamayan sa Baseco Port Area Manila
- SideCar Boys Club
- Social Watch Philippines
- Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Philippines
- SWP-ABI Health Cluster
- Teatro Mulat
- Ugnayan ng mga Kabataan sa BASECO, Port Area, Manila
- Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan sa Almanza Dos, Las Pinas
- WAND Women Organization, Inc.
- WomanHealth Philippines
- YES-O (Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (Pateros National High School)