Duterte urged to control use of vaping
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday underscored the need to control the use of e-cigarettes or vapes after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas had become the country’s first patient suffering from vaping injury.
Also on Sunday, a group opposed to smoking, the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), renewed its call for a complete ban on vaping following the DOH announcement of the country’s first vaping-injury patient last week.
Go, chair of the Senate health committee, said he would ask President Duterte to issue an executive order regulating the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of all kinds of e-cigarettes, which have become popular among teenagers.
Court stops DOH order
He lamented that a Pasig City court had temporarily stopped enforcement of a DOH order regulating the use of “electronic nicotine and nonnicotine delivery system.”
In an emailed statement, Go said he was concerned after learning that the country’s first vaping-injury patient was a minor.
“We oppose the unregulated use of these products and how it is easily accessed by minors,” he said.
“And anyone admitted for smoking-related illnesses, particularly those with limited financial capacity, also puts pressure on government resources to be spent for their health and wellness,” he added.
The junior senator said he would introduce legislation that would regulate vaping and the use of similar smoking devices.
He reiterated the warning issued by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III about the risks of inhaling liquid nicotine, especially to teenagers.
Public health problem
“Smoking, in all forms and manner, is a public health issue and it adversely affects almost everyone around a smoker, even those who do not smoke at all,” Go said.
“As the chair of the Senate committee on health, it is my duty to ensure that necessary health services as well as information and regulation on health concerns are easily accessible to protect our people,” he said.
In an interview with reporters, Emer Rojas, president of NVAP, said his group wanted e-cigarettes and vapes banned until the Food and Drug Administration could issue guidelines for the protection of the public.
Such guidelines, he said, are important because of increasing proof that e-cigarettes and vapes pose even worse risks to health than traditional cigarettes.
“Deaths due to cigarettes were recorded only after decades of use. That is why most victims are older people. E-cigarettes may be more deadly, since people get sick and die in just a few years of vaping,” Rojas said.
Vaping for 4 months
On Friday, Duque said the 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas was not asthmatic, but had been vaping daily for four months since March.
The girl then started using both the device and traditional cigarettes until she was hospitalized on Oct. 21.
Two weeks before her hospitalization, Duque said, the girl, whom he did not identify, took cough medicines to help relieve her dry cough but to no avail.
She was taken to a hospital after she had a “sudden onset of difficulty of breathing,” he said.
The DOH said the girl met the case criteria for vaping injury laid down by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has recorded at least 2,172 cases of lung injuries and 42 deaths associated with e-cigarettes and vaping.
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