Medical associations and health organizations criticized the Second Reading Senate Bill （SBN） 2239 or the “Evaporated Nicotine Products Control Act” passed by the senator on Tuesday, December 14, calling the measure “anti-health, anti-youth, and anti-child”.
According to Dr. Benito Atienza, President of the Philippine Medical Association （PMA）， SBN 2239, better known as the Vape Act, has serious flaws and retrogression.
He said at an online meeting with doctors and health advocates: “We are shocked by the hasty pace of deliberation in Congress and the Senate.” He urged the Senate to abolish this measure.
The bill will now be read for the third and final reading on Thursday, December 16, and aims to lower the minimum age for obtaining e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes from the current 21 to 18.
It also transferred the regulatory authority for the aforementioned products from the Food and Drug Administration （FDA） to the Department of Trade and Industry （DTI）， and relaxed restrictions on the use of flavoring agents.
Dr. Liz Gonzalez of the Philippine Pediatric Society （PPS） said: “The use of e-cigarettes is becoming increasingly popular among young people. The passage of the e-cigarette bill will contribute to this popularity.”
She added: “In addition to being addicted to nicotine, smoking also makes our young people prone to smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs.”
Dr. Maricar Limpin, Dean of the College of Physicians of the Philippines （PCP） called the measure “pro-industry regulations disguised as health measures”
She said: “We condemn attempts to undermine and weaken existing laws at the height of the influenza pandemic. We have sufficient health and economic problems that do not need to worsen.”
“We will campaign against these legislators and make sure this becomes an election issue,” Limpin warned, referring to the supporters of the bill.
These groups urge senators to withdraw their votes on the e-cigarette bill during the third and final reading. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives approved a corresponding measure.
“Vape Bill is a life-saving policy that is completely reversed. During the CVID-19 pandemic, the Covid-19 pandemic is a disease that mainly attacks the lungs,” said Sophia San Luis, Executive Director of Imagination Director of the Public Interest Law Group.
“The value of the COVID-19 disease in the past two years should be understood by us. Does this mean that our Senate will pass an anti-health measure to save our lives?” she asked.
St. Louis added: “The Vape Act provides the health of Filipinos on the silver plate for the profit-driven benefits of e-cigarettes. Our senators should not allow this to happen and should vote against the Vape Act.”
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