The Sin Tax Coalition criticizes AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Representative Sharon Garin for calling the sectors opposing the vape bill that Congress recently passed as bearers of “fake news.”
On the contrary, the supporters of the Vape Bill are the ones using false information and spreading unverified and controverted studies to favor their narrative that the vape bill is pro-youth and pro-health.
Rep. Sharon S. Garin was quoted stating: “I don’t understand the misinformation being spread by some sectors that this bill overturns the ban on the use of flavors that appeal to minors and other restrictions under EO 106. This is fake news. Except for the age requirement, the Vape Bill does not repeal the provisions of RA 11467 and EO 106. It actually strengthens it.”
We ask Representative Garin not to spread false news.
The fact remains that the vape bill supported by Rep. Garin and other politicians would remove the strong regulation found in existing laws like RA No. 11346, RA No. 11467, and EO 106. The deregulation is not only in the age of access requirement that the bill lowers from 21 to 18 years old, which will open the access to these harmful products to more young users. The provision on flavors would also allow other flavors to be produced, removing the present ban on all flavors except for plain tobacco and plain menthol. Online marketing and sale of these products are also encouraged by the vape bill, when we know that children and the youth are more exposed now to online platforms. The bill allows public vaping, while EO 106 prohibits public vaping, especially in areas where children and the young congregate. Finally, the regulation of these products is transferred from a health agency to the Department of Trade and Industry. Clearly, the bill is a deception– it is not for health regulation, but rather, it promotes vapes, even to the youth.
The vape bill is far from being a harm reduction strategy. The bill is what we should call fake news. Anti-health politicians claim that the vape bill will finally regulate vaping. That is patently false. The truth is, vaping has always been regulated by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) through Republic Act No. 11467 and Executive Order No. 106. The new vape bill does not “strengthen” regulation as claimed by Rep. Garin.
We wish that our anti-health politicians conduct further research before issuing statements that turn out to be false.
HealthJustice, a member of Sin Tax Coalition, said that what we see is a systematic perpetuation of false information to favor the interest of the tobacco and vape industries. “We remain committed to genuinely protecting the interest of children, the young and vulnerable from the harms of tobacco and nicotine,” former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan, board member of Health Justice Philippines, said.