The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the ratified bill on Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act into law.
Both the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives earlier ratified the harmonized version of the bill, which will regulate the use, manufacture, importation, sale, distribution, and promotion of vaping and heated tobacco products. It now awaits the President’s signature or veto.
“The weight of the scientific evidence shows that potentially thousands of Filipino lives can be saved by making this act the law of the land,” wrote CAPHRA, supported by its expert advisory group and member organizations throughout the Asia Pacific region.
CAPHRA, in a letter, conveyed to the President that, once enacted, the legislation would provide 16 million Filipino smokers with the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool, saving the lives and enhancing the health of millions of Filipino smokers and their families, friends and co-workers.
“Hundreds of peer-reviewed international scientific studies have found innovative smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products to be far less harmful than combustible tobacco and offer the best options to make smokers switch or quit. The act will ensure the regulation of these products, so that they meet government standards to protect consumers and will contribute revenue, via taxation,” said CAPHRA executive coordinator Nancy Loucas.
The letter said signing the act into law and giving Filipino smokers the option of choosing less harmful alternative nicotine products would create an enduring presidential legacy. It will prove to the world that President Duterte is a leader who put the health and well-being of his people, based on science, above the special interests of foreigners.
The Asia Pacific advocacy group said the use of non-combustible nicotine products is at the core of tobacco harm reduction—a public health strategy designed to address the smoking problem by making available less harmful alternatives that do not produce smoke – the main source of toxic chemicals that cause cancer and chronic pulmonary heart diseases.
CAPHRA said that with Public Health England concluding that vaping is at least 95-percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes, “we believe that the use of less harmful alternatives to traditional cigarettes will save about 100,000 Filipinos who die every year from smoking-related diseases”.
The letter noted that once signed into law, the Philippines would join 67 countries around the world that have regulatory frameworks on vaping. Further, those countries that have legalized vaping and the use of other smoke-free products such as heated tobacco have since registered a dramatic decline in smoking prevalence.
Enclosing an extensive bibliography of scientific information, CAPHRA concluded by respectfully asking the president to urgently sign the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act into law.
Last year, CAPHRA member organization Vapers PH commissioned ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants to conduct ‘A Survey of Attitudes Among Adult Tobacco & Nicotine Users in the Philippines’. A staggering 94 percent of respondents agreed that the Philippine government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.