“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will create an enduring legacy by signing the Vape Bill into law before he leaves office, and we are confident he’ll do just that,” said Peter Dator, president of consumer group Vapers PH and CAPHRA member.
CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) joined other vaping advocates encouraging the outgoing president to approve legislation to give the green light to less harmful nicotine alternatives.
Once enacted, the bill will regulate the use, manufacture, importation, sale, distribution and promotion of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and other novel tobacco products. It will protect minors, eradicate black markets, ensure safety standards and reasonable adult access, and save many lives among 16 million Filipino smokers.
Congress is now poised to submit the bill for Presidential sign-off after it was overwhelmingly approved, prior to the election, by both the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.
“This cannot be approved by President-elect Marcos. Bills must be submitted to the President under who’s Congress it was passed. In this case it is President Duterte who thankfully understands just what is at stake. Nearly 90,000 Filipinos die from smoking-related diseases every year, and his stroke of a pen will save many going forward,” said Mr Dator.
The Philippine government tried to ban the use of e-cigarettes, HTPs, and other smoke-free alternatives in 2019. However, things changed after politicians decided instead to back considerable international scientific evidence.
“This is set to be a truly historic moment for our country which has endured a terrible smoking epidemic for decades. Adopting a successful Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) strategy will see the Philippines join the likes of the UK, US and New Zealand. It will put our country positively up in lights and encourage other Asia Pacific countries to also do the right thing,” said Dator.
The president’s approval of the Vape Bill will also reflect the strong will of the public.
Last year, Vapers PH commissioned ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants to conduct ‘A Survey of Attitudes Among Adult Tobacco & Nicotine Users in the Philippines’. A staggering 94% of respondents agreed that the Government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.
“By signing the Vape Bill President Duterte will be remembered a leader who put the health and well-being of his people, based on science, above the special interests of foreigners,” he said.
The Philippines would then join at least 67 countries that have adopted regulatory frameworks on vaping – all of which have since registered a dramatic decline in smoking prevalence.
“The world now awaits. It will send a very strong message to those countries that have their heads buried in the sand, trying to banish vaping. The reality is vaping is an incredibly effective smoking cessation tool. It will give Filipinos their best chance to quit deadly combustible cigarettes for good,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of CAPHRA.
“President Duterte can finally hit our smoking epidemic where it hurts. We thank him in advance for protecting the rights and health of 16 million Filipino smokers and at least one million local vapers,” said Dator.
Boasting of nearly 15,000 testimonials, CAPHRA is calling on those who’ve quit cigarettes through smoke-free nicotine alternatives to tell their story on www.righttovape.org
For a free digital media repository on tobacco harm reduction in Asia Pacific – including media releases, images and graphics – please visit https://apthrmedia.org
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organizations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.