Philippine E-Cigarettes Industry Association (PECIA) President Joey Dulay expressed his support for Senate Bill 2239, an act regulating electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems, heated tobacco products, and novel tobacco products, which is currently being debated in the Senate.
The proposed legislation covers rules and restrictions on the manufacture, use, sale, packaging, distribution, advertisement and promotion of the above mentioned products.
“Senate Bill 2239 will be truly beneficial for our industry as it will allow for more organized operations and standardized procedures that will ensure quality products and safe distribution,” said Dulay.
“We are very grateful to the sponsors, headed by Senator Ralph Recto, of this balanced bill that not only protects the interests of both the nation and our growing industry, but, more importantly, the welfare of its users,” he added.
Industry observers have noted that the current bill provides a balanced form of regulation that addresses not only the needs of smokers and vapers in accessing safe and reliable vape products, but also protects these very products from being accessed by youths.
Still subject to plenary approval, the proposed act will help the industry further their commitment to help reduce the number of cigarette smokers in the country as demonstrated by numerous other countries that have experienced positive public health outcomes. This includes the UK and Japan which has seen a steady decline of cigarette sales following the authorities’ adoption of alternative nicotine delivery products. Said Dulay, it will also help address underage vaping, as well as the issue of counterfeit sales in the country. More than a third of the bill contains provisions to keep vapor products out of the hands of minors.
Earlier this year, PECIA and other industry players expressed their reservations on the proposed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs) of Republic Acts 11346 and 11467, laws on the taxation of tobacco products, stating that too much restrictions involving floor price, age limit, and vape juice flavors would just lead to the emergence of unregulated illicit trading.
According to Dulay, the current version of the Senate Bill, which sets the minimum age of e-cigarette ownership to 18 and allows the selling of select vape juice flavors for adult smokers, is a balanced law that could set clear standards and professionalize the vape industry that is increasingly regarded as beneficial for smokers and their communities, allowing for more cigarette smoking Filipinos to switch to less harmful alternatives.