A major industry group appealed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure the effective implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act as a way of protecting consumers from illicit products.
“We are hoping that the BIR will closely work with enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police, The Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as relevant anti-illicit trade groups from the Bureau of Customs to make sure the law and its IRR are effectively implemented,” the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) said in a letter addressed to BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr.
PTI is a non-stock, non-profit association representing multiple tobacco companies in the Philippines. Its members include Japan Tobacco International Philippines, Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corp. and PMFTC Inc., among others.
The group asked authorities to “ensure the full implementation” of RA 11900 which regulates the importation, manufacture, sale and distribution of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products and novel tobacco products.
The provisions of the Vape Law when fully implemented will “ensure that the public is protected against the dangers of using illicit products as well as the collection of appropriate taxes aimed at helping our economy,” PTI said.
It issued the appeal amid reports of rampant illicit trade of vape products online which pushed the group to support the Vape Law’s full implementation.
In September 2022, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda asked authorities to “step up” the enforcement of the Vape Law after his staff was able to easily buy vape products online. Salceda’s staff also found online products which did not observe the GHW requirements, non-branded products, products with descriptors appealing to minors and the non-payment of taxes.
PTI said that under the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR), e-commerce platforms, e-marketplaces and other similar online platforms are mandated to allow only DTI and BIR-registered distributors, merchants or retailers of vape products, devices and novel tobacco products to sell on their website or platform.
It said Rules IV, V, VI, XI and XIII of the IRR specifically aim to prevent the proliferation of illicit trade of vaporized nicotine products.
Rule IV states that graphic and textual health warnings (GHW) and relevant fiscal markings should be put on the unit packaging of NTPs, heated tobacco product (HTP) consumables and vape products. Only products bearing the required GHW may be sold to the public.
To ensure vape products are made inaccessible to minors, the IRR also provides that vapor product refill receptacles to be tamper-resistant and child-resistant. Products packaged or labeled with flavor descriptors appealing to minors are prohibited.
Section 2 of Rule VXII declares all requirements under the Vape Law effective immediately, except those provisions covering product standards and registration.