Solon wants regulation of e-cigarettes to protect tobacco farmers
MANILA, Philippines — House committee on economic affairs chair Sharon Garin has filed a bill that seeks to regulate electronic cigarettes to protect the interest of tobacco farmers, among others.
In a statement Thursday, Garin, representative of Ang Asosasyon Sang Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Mangunguma (AAMBIS-OWA) party-list, said her House Bill No. 5099 was anchored on the concept of “harm reduction,” which refers to “policies, regulations, and actions focusing on reducing health risks, usually by providing safer norms of hazardous products.”
The proposed Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS), Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) Regulation Act of 2019 also aims to support the country’s tobacco farmers, according to Garin.
Citing a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the lawmaker stressed that smallholder tobacco farmers remain the most vulnerable in the rise of electronic cigarettes and the shifting economic landscape.
“Aside from the rising health concerns, regulation is imperative to balance factors such as revenue generation, trade and commerce, job creation, the protection of minors and non-smokers, and the interest of tobacco farmers. There are a number of other factors to consider,” Garin explained.
HB 5099 mandates that device packaging of ENDS, ENNDS and HTPs should follow minimum labeling requirements under the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and should have textual health warnings.
The sale, distribution, and transfer of such products should also be prohibited for minors, while the use of the electronic cigar products in public places or for spaces exclusive for minors is not allowed under the bill.
The bill also provides penalties ranging from P100,000 to P1 million or imprisonment of up to five years for violators.
The measure has been pending with the committee on trade and industry since November 4, 2019.
Edited by JE
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