Pia Cayetano eyes higher minimum age of access to 'sinful' products | Inquirer News

Pia Cayetano eyes higher minimum age of access to ‘sinful’ products

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:18 PM March 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Instead of lowering the minimum age of access to sinful products, Senator Pia Cayetano said she is ready to file a bill further raising it between 21 and 25 years old.

“I’m prepared to file a bill increasing the age of access to those other sinful products to older age as well either 21, 23 or 25,” Cayetano said during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on trade on bills seeking to regulate vaporized nicotine products.

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“I’m still deciding on that. That is what we should do, and not the lowering.  That’s my position,” she added.

Cayetano made the remark when one of the resource persons,  Joey Dulay, president of the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association,  pointed out that several laws have set the minimum age at 18.

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“Just for a matter of consistency in our laws, we could apply for a driver’s license, we could vote at 18, we can buy cigarettes at 18, buy alcohol at 18,”  he said.

Dulay said he was hoping that Republic Act No. 11467 would be revisited as it sets the minimum age of access to the use and sale of heated products to 21 years old.

“And I think this is [the] perfect time for us to maybe correct or put it back to what is consistent with our laws on these [kinds] of products,” Dulay added.

Republic Act No. 11467, which imposes additional excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and e-cigarettes, was signed last year by President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Duterte signs law increasing taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes

However, three of four bills being tackled by the committee are proposing a minimum age of access to vaporized nicotine products below 18 years old.

Other resource persons opposed the minimum age set in the bills.

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“Our current law RA 11467 already mandates that the minimum age of purchase for electronic cigarettes and for heated tobacco products is at 21 years old of age,” Dr. Encarnita Blanco-Limpin, executive director of Philippine College of Physicians, said.

“Now scientific studies have shown that the age of maturation actually occurs at the age of 25 year…Now,  If we are thinking of changing the minimum age of purchase, maybe what we should do is even increase it to 25 years,”  she added.

According to Limpin, a higher minimum age could be considered for both vaporized, heated, and regular tobacco products, as well as alcohol.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rizalina Gonzales, chairperson of the Philippine Pediatric Society, described the proposals to reduce the age of access to e-cigarettes from 21 to 18 years old a “retrogressive act.”

Gonzales also cited a survey conducted by her group last year, which reported that 20% of Filipino youth use electronic cigarettes.

“When we did our nationwide survey last year, February,  March 2020 among all regions in public schools Grade 7 to 9,  we’ve seen that about 20 percent of our youth are using electronic cigarettes. Thats’ so unfortunate,” she said.

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TAGS: health issues, Legislation, Pia Cayetano, Senate, Tobacco
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