The new bill reconciles disagreeing provisions of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239.
Last May, the House of Representatives for the Republic of the Philippines passed the Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act also known as House Bill 9007, aimed at regulating the sale and manufacture of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Co-authored by 154 in the 300-man chamber for the House, the bill aims to prevent e-cig sales to minors.

When HB 9007 was passed, a number of local groups applauded the passage of the and launched the successful viral campaign, “We Vape, We Vote!” which appeals to President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the Vape Bill into law.

In a letter to the President, the groups: Vapers PH, Vaper Ako, Smoke Free Conversation PH, Nicotine Consumers Union of the Philippines (NCUP), Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association (PECIA), Quit For Good, Heated Equipment as Alternative to Traditional Smoking Philippines (HEATS), PROVAPE, Philippine Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, Inc. and Consumer Choice Philippines, plead that their voices are heard. “..with the growing positive scientific evidence coupled with our life-changing experiences, our resolve is stronger that vaping saves lives! We earnestly hope you would consider our humble plea Mr. President and sign the Vape Bill into law.”

A revised bill

However, following a review, a new bill reconciling disagreeing provisions of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239 was proposed. This would regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and marketing of the products.

This new proposed measure was approved last week by a committee panel composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate contingents led by Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian and Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Ralph Recto. During the conference meeting, Recto, highlighted that the bill aims to push for the shift from smoking to vaping, but does not support its promotion “as a lifestyle.”

Following this move, only the signature of President Duerte is needed to make the bill law. “This is a game-changer,” said Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Estrellita Suansing, a long-time health advocate. “Years from now when our country is rid of the smoking menace, we will look back at this Congress for starting the journey towards a smoke-free Philippines,” added Suansing, one of the authors of the Vaporized Nicotine Product (VNP) bill in the Lower House.

Meanwhile, consumer advocacy groups and medical professionals have expressed their trust that if signed into the law the bill would save millions of lives by offering smokers a safer alternative, while discouraging teen vaping. “The vape bill is serious in preventing minors from getting these products. It provides penalties that are even stronger than the penalties imposed for violations of the tobacco law. Erring parties can be fined or imprisoned,” said AKO Bicol Party List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.

Read Further: Philippine News Agency

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