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Philippines' Duterte orders nationwide ban on public vaping

Christian Fernsby |
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) that prohibits vaping in public and enclosed places nationwide, citing serious health threats to people exposed to the products, the country's presidential office said today.

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Duterte signed the EO No. 106 banning cigarette smoking in public and enclosed areas such as schools, elevators and stairwells, fire hazards locations and medical facilities. The order was later released today.

It also regulates the sale, manufacture, marketing, distribution and importation of unregistered electronic nicotine devices and other novel tobacco products.

Specifically, the EO prohibits the manufacture, distribution, marketing and sale of unregistered and adulterated Electronic Nicotine or Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) or e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and other novel tobacco products.

Under the order, access to these cigarettes has been restricted to people over 21 years old. The use of e-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) has also been banned nationwide.

In addition, the EO prohibits the sale of these products until they are granted appropriate pre-market authorization.

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque welcomed the signing of the EO, saying that the order was a "solid step forward to compel the industry to comply with our regulations, which are specifically aimed at protecting children from nicotine addiction."

"These regulations were benchmarked against international standards for novel tobacco product regulation which signifies that we are committed to aligning our rules with meaningful public health policies that save millions of lives yearly," Duque said.

In light of the EO signing and pursuant to Republic Act No. 11467, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be realigning its policy directions to ensure industry accountability.

"They have to be enrolled in a notification scheme for traceability. Heated tobacco and similar products must undergo pre-market approval and post-market surveillance to ensure compliance with updated product safety and marketing standards. We are committed to ensuring that tobacco marketing is not aimed at children," FDA Director Eric Domingo said.

The EO came more than three months after Duterte ordered law enforcers to arrest people using a vape in public.

Duterte last year ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest people who use vape especially in enclosed places and public places, saying that he will ban e-cigarette or vapes in the whole country.