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DOH calls for monitoring of vape cases

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:14 AM October 18, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday called on medical practitioners to be vigilant in identifying risks not only of tobacco use but also the use of vapes or electronic cigarettes when recording patients’ medical histories.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a press briefing on Thursday, said this would allow existing health information systems to capture data on vaping-related disorders.

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“Information on the potential harm of novel and emerging nicotine products can guide future policy directions for electronic cigarettes,” he said.

Duque’s call was in response to efforts by the World Health Organization, which has introduced International Classification of Diseases 10 code U07.0, an international tool for classifying and monitoring diseases, to be used immediately for reporting of acutely ill patients who have used electronic cigarettes in the last 90 days, with no other plausible causes for illness.

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US health cases

This developed following an increase in vaping-related illnesses in the United States as reported in recent months, mostly afflicting otherwise healthy young people.

“With 1,299 cases and 26 deaths reported, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are currently investigating the reports,” the DOH said, as it urged all government and private hospitals, clinics and other health facilities to use proper codes for designating vaping-related disorders.

Claim of reduced harm

“Electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products are sold in the market as alternatives for smokers trying to wean themselves off tobacco. Some studies claim that they contain fewer toxic chemicals and are less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. We do not support their claim of reduced harm. These products endanger the health of both users and non-users, and are clearly not meant for children,” Duque said.

“People who have recently used e-cigarettes or other vaping products should immediately seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms,” he added.

The DOH also bared on Thursday that a temporary injunction order was issued against its administrative order regulating the use, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and other related products.

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Restraining order

“We are being sued by several companies, one in Manila Regional Trial Court and one in Pasig [Regional Trial Court], and last week we received temporary injunctions … there are pending hearings,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo told reporters in an interview.

Domingo said the Clean Puff company in Manila and a certain Ryan Sason sued the DOH over the said order.

Duque said the injunction could be a “temporary setback” but added that it would not stop the DOH from informing the public on the harmful effects of vaping.

“It is a temporary setback because [there’s a] TRO [temporary restraining order] but that doesn’t preclude us from spreading facts on use of harmful products,” he said.

“There is no injunction for us to stop spread of information as necessitated because we are the protectors of public health. We made our position clear, we’re gonna fight it, we have our own lawyers to mount our legal defense when the hearings begin tomorrow,” Duque added.

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TAGS: DoH, Duque, health risks, Local news, medical records, Philippine news update, Smoking, vape
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