Meanwhile, local experts would like the age limit raised further. “Scientific studies have shown the age of maturation actually occurs at the age of 25 years. Now, if we are thinking of changing the minimum age of purchase maybe what we should do is even increase it to 25 years,” said Philippine College of Physicians executive director and doctor Encarnita Blanco-Limpin.
Limpin noted that under the Republic Act No 11467, the age of purchase for vaporized nicotine products and heated tobacco products is 21 years old. “To be consistent, since all of these [are] addictive substances maybe it is wise to consider that we put the minimum age of purchase for all the vaporized products, heated tobacco products, all the regular tobacco products and even alcohol, at the age of 21, or even perhaps at the age of 25. So that we will be able to prevent our young from taking up these addiction at an earlier age,” she appealed.
Do tobacco age limits work?
Meanwhile experts have different opinions about implementing such age restrictions. In line with the Senators’ arguments, some public health researchers argue that since 95% of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21, such age limits make sense as the earlier a person starts smoking, the harder it is for them to curb the habit.
On the other end of the stick, others, such as State Government Relations Manager from The Heartland Institute Lindsey Stroud, argue that the illegal status of other substances has never stopped youngsters from obtaining and consuming them. On the contrary, it just pushes them to obtain these substances illegally, at times from the black market where they are unregulated and possibly unsafe.
“The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in its Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs 58% of 12th graders reported consuming alcohol in 2015 (despite its illegal status),” highlighted Stroud.
Read Further: Manila Bulletin