Senatorial candidate and House Deputy Speaker Dante Marcoleta last Friday labeled the doctors opposing the signing of the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, commonly known as the Vape Bill, as “charlatans.” He criticized them for opposing the bill, which he claims is for regulating vape.

We, the Sin Tax Coalition, which advocates strong regulation, especially taxation to protect our people from the harms of nicotine addiction, call out Rep. Marcoleta for insulting the esteemed doctors and their associations. The doctors and medical associations oppose the vape bill, and their position is driven by facts and science.

Marcoleta falsely claims that the Vape Bill will finally regulate vapor products. Vapor products have always been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as mandated both by the Republic Act No. 11467 and Executive Order No. 106.

But the bill Marcoleta is endorsing will just loosen regulations by removing vape products from the jurisdiction of FDA, which is the most competent agency to regulate products harmful to health.

Marcoleta’s statement that the bill is a harm-reduction measure is deceptive. In reality, the bill harms non-smokers, especially the youth. It lowers the age of restriction from 21 years old to 18 years old and removes the existing two-flavor restriction by allowing multi-flavors that are attractive to the youth.

Many studies have shown that when non-smokers are given access to vape, they are more likely to smoke, drink excessively and take illicit drugs in the future. All the more then should vaping be subjected to stricter regulations.

We wonder then whether Marcoleta is aware who the real charlatan is. Between a politician supporting the vaping industry and the medical associations whose mission is to promote health and protect smokers and non-smokers alike, we can easily determine who the charlatan is.

We reiterate our appeal to President Duterte to hear our call: #VetoTheVapeBill.

Lastly, we call on our voters to reject those candidates who make false claims and who push products that lead to harm promotion, not harm reduction.