Flavored tobacco creates a regulatory hole | SunStar

Flavored tobacco creates a regulatory hole

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Flavored tobacco creates a regulatory hole

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IF you cannot fight them, join them. That is exactly what the tobacco manufacturers did in Canada lately.

Since traditional tobacco products are now mandated to be packed with health risk warnings (ours in the Philippines have the gruesome look of darkened lungs transformed by smoking)—which they cannot fight off—Canadian tobacco manufacturers instead joined the throng of health-promoting marketers.

What they did was produce flavored tobacco products, marketed as smoking cessation products, allowing them to get away from getting their products packed with tobacco risk warnings.

These tobaccos (i.e. its active content nicotine) can be found in supposedly small doses and just a drop of the liquefied product on the pipe, then, the regulation oversight got sidestepped.

Evidently, tobacco regulation in the Philippines must be pliant enough to address “creative” tobacco products. We have already these products in our market and no health department regulator so far demanded the same warning labels for these products.

Evidently, the marketing strategy is effective. Perhaps, all of us knew who are laughing and who are being laughed at. I am sure one of those being laughed at is our Department of Health and its attached food regulation unit, BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs).

There is a trend already in Canada, which packaged tobaccos creatively. They are packed and marketed similarly under different flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, cherry, melon, strawberry and even bubblegum.

However, I have not yet noticed it in our stores. Or, perhaps, I rarely look into “creative” tobacco or cigarette products.

However, since laughter is supposedly the best medicine, then perhaps tobacco associated risks in flavored forms marketed today can help in protectively addressing health risks from nicotine and other hydrocarbon toxins from its smoke.

I just hope that this time the laughter will not be on the non-smokers like many of us.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2017.

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