Groups urge swift passage of bill on higher tax on e-cigs, liquor
MANILA, Philippines — Multiple sectors on Monday once again called on lawmakers to immediately pass a bill on the liquor e-cigarettes and vape as an early Christmas present for the Filipino youth.
At a press briefing, health advocates, leaders from the youth sector were among those who backed the proposed hike in the excise tax rates on products which some of them described as “harmful” and “deadly,” especially to the Filipino youth.
“E-cigarette and HTPs (heated tobacco products) taxes that are comparable with tobacco taxes will restrict access and availability of e-cigarettes to children and minors,” said Ana Rivera, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director Ana Rivera for the Center for Cosmetics Regulation and Research.
“This law, if passed, will be a noteworthy and meaningful early Christmas present to our children, the youth and the minors,” she added.
Dr. Rosalie Paje from the Department of Health (DOH) said that increasing the sin tax rates on such products, particularly on e-cigarettes and vapes, would prevent the normalization of smoking.
“We also would want to reduce the risk to exposure to second hand aerosols and curb increasing numbers of users as well as deter first time usage of e-cigarettes and we want to be able to prevent potential use of it as an illicit drug delivery system,” she added.
Meanwhile, the youth sector underscored the harmful effects of such products on the youth.
“Ang youth for sin tax ay sumusuporta sa panukalanng ito sa kadahilangang una, ang kabataan ang pinakakawawa sa mga karamdamang dulot ng mga produktong ito,” Erica Navelgas from the Youth for Sin Tax said.
“Tatandaan po natin na isa sa limang e-cig users ay mula sa kabataan at ito po ay lubhang nakababahala,” she added.
Navelgas noted that higher taxes be imposed on alcoholic, heated tobacco, and vapor products would discourage the youth from purchasing such items.
“If we increase mababwasan ang agkonsumo at pagtangkilik, mas manghihinayang ang mga kabataan na gumastos,” she said.
Von Vladimir Defontorum from PUP-Speak cited a World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2019 which showed that seven to eight million people die every year due to air pollution.
“Malaking porsyento dito ay sa hanay ng mga kabataan,” Defontorum pointed out.
According to Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua, the sin tax measure “is part of a broader agenda of investing in the Filipino people.”
“The task before us is urgent,” he said, pertaining to efforts in pushing for the bill’s immediate passage.
Chua noted that the bill would help fund the Universal Health Care.
“The bill will generate an additional P47.9 billion in the first year of implementation and around P356.9 billion over the next five years,” he said.
“The rate embodied in Senate Bill No. 1074 will deter consumption significantly which is the ultimate aim of the health measure,” he added.
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