DOH 7 supports call to ban disposable vapes

DOH 7 supports call to ban disposable vapes
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ROSE Ancajas, not her real name, shared that vaping has become her favorite pastime and a stress reliever from her work as a team lead at a business process management firm in Cebu City.

“More than it relieves my stress from work, I also use vape after I eat or every time I take the comfort room to get over that nerve,” she told SunStar Cebu on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

The 24-year-old recalled starting to use vapes in senior high school after trying her brother’s refillable e-cigarette.

Besides helping her cool down from work stress, Ancajas said vapes are more convenient, more flavorful and addictive.

Then she discovered disposable vapes in college and began using the one-time variants.

“It helps. It is convenient and the flavors are more delicious with disposable compared to refillable variants, “ she said.

She noted that on average, a disposable vape pod lasts around 9,000 puffs, with some lasting up to 12,000 puffs. Prices range from P500 to P650.

Ancajas said that a disposable vape typically lasts at least three weeks to a whole month, depending on usage.

A disposable vape is a non-rechargeable device that comes pre-charged and pre-filled with liquid. It does not require recharging or refilling.

Ancajas’ enjoyment of disposable vapes may soon come to an end, as health experts in Cebu are echoing lawmakers’ call to ban the use and sale of these products.

Health risk

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, the regional epidemiologist of the Department of Health (DOH) 7, said they support the proposed ban on disposable vapes in the Senate.

Cañal said the DOH runs a program aimed at controlling Evali, or e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury. The health department has been providing orientations to hospitals on how to address patients with Evali since last year.

As part of the program, the DOH 7 is profiling secondary high schools in Argao, south of Cebu, until May this year as part of evidence-based steps for the future, Cañal said.

Additionally, she refuted claims that vapes are safer than traditional cigarettes, saying that “it is a misconception.”

Unlike cigarettes, where the components are listed on the packets, the chemicals inside vapes are often not fully disclosed, the DOH 7 top official said.

“Mind you, vapes are more harmful than cigarettes,” she said.

Proposal to ban sale

Three lawmakers have expressed support for the proposal to ban the sale of disposal vapes in the Philippines.

In her recent visit to Cebu in March, Sen. Pia Cayetano, who is the vice chairperson of the Senate health committee, said she will push in the Senate the prohibition of selling and using of disposable vapes.

Cayetano expressed concern not only about health issues but also about the environmental impact of disposable vapes, likening their effects to those of single-use plastic bags.

She emphasized that after use, disposable vapes contribute to environmental pollution, urging young people to advocate for environmental preservation.

Sen. JV Ejercito, who is also a vice chairman of the committee, was quoted in a separate report that most disposable vapes are unregistered and do not pay excise taxes.

In the same report, Sen. Bong Go, who chairs the Senate health committee, likewise, shared the same sentiments and urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to study possible measures to ensure that the sale of vapes complies with Philippine laws and regulations.

The Department of Finance is actively considering a ban on disposable vapes in the country due to concerns about unregulated sales, tax evasion and significant health risks, particularly among the youth, according to Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto.

Recto emphasized the need for strict monitoring of retailers, especially online stores, selling unregistered disposable vape products, and the imposition of penalties on violators as per Republic Act 11900, also known as the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act.

Recto pointed out that a majority of disposable vapes sold in the market lack registration with the DTI and fail to comply with the tax requirements set by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. / KJF with KOC)


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